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/:e '^^cfs- 





I. DOSRAELI, ESQ. D. G. L. F. S. A. 

VOL. I. 









ytd£09S ^'-"0 


JAN ^Cl9v2 












Among the literary novelties of our times, one not the 
least interesting has been those secret histories of their 
works which some of our great authors have prefixed to 
their late re-puhlications. Sir Walter Scott was induced 
to famish those details of his long mysterious , and 
unowned compositions, to establish his appropriation of 
those popular vmtings. Others have followed his ex- 
ample; and no one has more deeply interested us than 
our patriarch of literature , Mr. Godwin, whose secret 
history of his mode of composing his Caleb Williams is 
a remarkable instance of that intellectual narrative, 
which, perhaps, might be advantageously applied to 
every work whose character has been sanctioned by the 
only infallible critic— old and hoary Time ! 

I cannot^ myself, consign to the press , for the ninth 
time, these ''Curiosities of Literature," in their present 
popular form, without being reminded of the peculiarity 
of their fate. It is now approaching half a century since 
their first volume appeared; about a year Or two after 
the second succeeded. Twenty years elapsed before a 
third was produced; and six years subsequently the last 
three volumes were at once given to the world. Of vo- 
lumes produced at such distinct intervals, it may be 
worth notice that they reflect three aeras of the writer's 
life. In the first stage of investigation we are eager to 

viij Preface. 

acquire and arrange knowledge ; in the second our cu- 
riosity becomes more critidJ ^ and more varied ; add in 
the third, knowledge and curiosity opening the virgin 
veins of original research, and striking out new results , 
in the history of human nature, we combine philosophy 
with literature. For a long series of years these volumes 
have been domestic favourites. A great personage once 
called them his ^' little library," and they stand classed 
in the catalogue, among the delicice litteraricB. They 
have received a more distinguished approbation by the 
honour of being constantly referred to, by the most 
eminent writers, both for their information and their 

A vnriter of nearly half a century standing may be 
presumed to have passed beyond that state of inebriating 
egotism in which authors, it is supposed, are apt to in- 
dulge. The vn'iter of half a century has outlived his 
critics; and, alas ! has survived those whom hepnce had 
an ambition to please. Praise cannot any longer extend 
his celebrity, and censure cannot condemn what has won 
the reward of public favour. Such a writer may venture 
to talk of himself as one of a former generation , and may 
be said to ejijoy a sort of posthumous reputation. 

Bradenham House ^ Bucks, 
January^ 1834. 


LntAins page 1 

The BQAiomaiua 7 

Lh«airy journals 9 

Recovery of Manuscripts 14 

Sketelfes of Criticism 19 

Tbc persecuted learned 22 

PoTerty of the learped - 24 

Imprisonment of the learned . - 28 

Anmsements of the learned 31 

Portraits of authors 34 

Destruction of books ^ 38 

Some Notices of lost works. . .H 47 

Quodlihets , or scholastic disquisitions 49 

Fame contemned • 54 

The six follies of science ibid. 

Imitators 55 

Cicero's puns 57 

Prefixes 59 

Early printing 60 

Errata 63 

Patrons 67 

Poets , Philosophers , and artists , made by accident 69 

Inequalities of genius 72 

Geognphical style ibid. 

^*f»^ 73 

The Port-Royal Society 77 

^*e progress of old age in nev studies 80 

%*a»h poetry 82 

Swnt ETremond 84 

«» of genius deficient in conversation 85 

Vida gy 

JH ^^""^^^ .WWW ibid. 

"c^ La RochetbucauU 9j[ 

^^'w's Hans Carvel 92 

■he student in the metropolis 93 

^^ Talmud , , 94 


Rabbinical stories page 100 

On the custom of saluting after sneezing 105 ' 

Bonaventure des Periers 1 107 

Grotius 108 

Noblemen turned critics 109 

Literary impostures • a. 110 

Cardinal Richelieu 116 

Aristotle and Plato 117 

Abelard and Eloisa 120 

Physiognomy , 123 

Characters described by musical notes 126, 

Milton 126 

Origin of Newspapers 1^ 

Trials and proofs of guilt in superstitious ages 134 

Inquisition 138 

Singularities observed by various nations in their repasts 142 

]tf onarchs 1 44 

Of the titles of illustrious , highness , and excellence 146 

Titles of sovereigns gL 148 

Royal divinities ^. 1 49 

Dethroned raonarchs y. 150 

Feudal customs 1 52 

Gaming 15( 

The Arabic chronicle 1 5^ 

Metempsychosis 1 6( 

Spanish etiquette 16! 

The Goths and Huns. 161 

Of vicars of Bray 16 

Douglas idic 

Critical history of Poverty 16 

Solomon and Sheba 16 

Hell 17 

The absent man 17 

Wax-work 1' 

Pasquin and Marforio 1 '^ 

Female beauty and ornaments 1' 

Modem Platonism 1 ' 

Anecdotes of fashion \' 

Stanzas 1 

A Senate of Jesuits ^ \ 

The Lover's heart 1 

The history of gloves \ 

Relics of Saints 5 

Perpetual lamps of the ancients 5 


Natural productions resembling artificial compositions. . . . page 205 

Ik poetical Garland of Julia 207 

Tn^c actors 209 

Jocular preachers 211 

Masteriy imitators 217 

Edtrard the Fourth 220 

EKiabcth 222 

Tie Chinese language 225 

Medical music 226 

Minute writing . 231 

Rmnerical figures 233 

Eo^h astrologers 234 

AkAjmj 238 

Fitksof Books "242 

Literaiy follies 246 

Literary controyersj 258 

Literary Wonders 1 269 

A Uterary wife 274 

Dedications 283 

Philosophical descriptive poems 286 

Panphleb 288 

Little Books •. 292 

A catholic's refutation 294 

The good advice of an old literary sinner ibid. 

Mysteries , Moralities , Farces and Sotties : . . . 296 

Lore and folly, ao ancient morality 303 

Rcli|ioas Nouvellettes '. 305 

** Critical sagacity," and ** happy conjecture : " or Bentley's 

Milton , 311 

AJansenist dictionary 314 

Manuscripts and Books 315 

The Turkish spy 317 

Spenser, Johnson , and Shakspeare 319 

Ben Jonson , Feltham , and Randolph 320 

Ari«to and Tasso 325 

Bayle 330 

^^trantes 332 

Magliahecchi ibid. 

Ahridgers . 335 

Professors of Plagiarism and Obscurity 337 

Literary Dutch 339 

The productions of the mind not seizable by creditors 341 

; Critics 342 

^ecdotes of Authors censured . 344 

xji COirrENTS. 

Virginity page 347 

A glance into the French Academy 348 

Poetical and grammatical deaths 351 

Scarron 355 

Peter Corneille 361 

Poets 366 

Romances 374 

The Astrea 381 

Poets lanreat 384 

Angelo Politian. 387 

Original letter of queen Elizabeth 389 

Anne Bullen 390 

James the first 391 

General Monk and his wife 396 

Philip and Mary 397 

) Sz^^ « ft. -r. 





The passion for fomung vast collections of books has necessarily 
ousted in all periods of human curiosity -, but long it required regal 
rooDificeDce to found a national library. It is only since the art of 
moltiplyiog the productions of the mind has been discovered , that 
iDeo of letters have been enabled to rival this imperial and patriotic 
boDoar. The taste for books , so rare before the fiAeenth century, 
te gradually become general only within these four hundred years : 
ID that small space of time the puMic mind of Europe has been 

or Libraries , the following anecdotes seem most interesting , as 
Jbey mark either the affection , or the veneration , which civilised 
men have ever felt for these perennial repositories of their minds, gh * 
The first national library founded in ^Bgypt seemed to hdve been Jf^^**^^ 
pbwd under the protection of the divinities, for their statues magni- -yj/ - . 
^«Dfly adorned this temple, dedicated at once to religion and to 
literature. It was still further embellished by a well-known inscrip- 
tion, for ever grateful to the votary of literature ; on the front was 
^Bgnmk ^^ The nourishment of the soul ^ '' or, according to Diodo- 
rag , " The medicine of the mind.'* , , 

The Egyptian Ptolemies founded the vast library of Alexandria , -r *: - 
^fteh was afterwards the emulative labour of rival monarchs ; the -^ ^ ^ 
tnmder inftised a soul into the vast body he was creating , by his 
choice of the librarian Demetrius Phalereus , whose skilftil industry 
*nttned ftxmi all nations their choicest productions. Without such a 
t^nrian, a national library would be little more than a lite- 
Wf Cham \ Ids well-exercised memory and critical judgment are 
^ besi catalogue. One of the Ptolemies refused supplying the fa- 
i ^i^&ii Athemans with wheat, until they presented him with the 


original manuscripls of jEschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides ; and ia 
returning copies of Ihese autographs , he allowed Ihem to retain the 
fifteen talents which he had pledged with them as a princely security. 

When -tyrants, or usurpers, have possessed sense as weU as cou- 
( rage, they have proved the most ardent patrons of literature^ they 
know it is their interest to turn aside the public mind from political 
speculations, and to afford theu* subjects the inexhaustible occupa- 
tions of curiosity, and the consoling pleasures of the imagination. 
Thus Pisistratus is said to have been among the earliest of the 
Greeks, who projected an immense coUection of the works of the 
learned , and is supposed to have been the collector of the scattered 
works, which passed under the name of Homer. 

The Romans , after six centuries of gradual dominion , must have 
^ * possessed the vast and diversified collections of the writings of the 
^ ^ nations they conquered : among the most valued spoils of their vic- 
tories , we know that manuscripts were considered as more precious 
than vases of gold. Paulus Emilius , after the defeat of Perseus, king 
of Macedon , brought to Rome a great number which he had amass- 
ed in Greece, and which he now distributed among his sons , or 
presented to the Roman people. Sylla followed his example. After 
the siege of Athens , he discovered an entire library in the temple 
of Apollo , which having carried to Rome , he appears to have been 
the founder of the first Roman public library. After the taking of 
Carthage , the Roman senate rewarded the family of Regulus with 
the books found in that city. A library was a national gift, and the 
most honourable they could bestow. From the intercourse of the 
Romans with the Greeks , the passion for forming libraries rapidly 
increased , and individuals began to pride themselves on their private 
\x^>^ collections. 

Of many illustrious Romans , their magnificent taste in their li- 
braries has been recorded. Asinius Pollio, Crassus, Caesar, and 
Cicero, have , among others, been celebrated for their literary splen- 
dor. Lucufius , whose incredible opulence exhausted itself on more 
than imperial luxuries, more honourably distinguished himself by 
his vast coUections Of books, and the happy use he made of them by 
the liberal access he allowed the learned. " It was a library,'* says 
Plutarch, " whose walks, galleries , and cabinets, were open to all 
visiters ; and the ingenious Greeks, when at leisure , resorted to this 
abode of the Muses to hold literary conversations, in which LucuUus 
himself loved to join." This library, enlarged by others , Julius 
Cffisar once proposed to open for the public, having chosen the eru- 
dite Varro for its librarian^ but the daggers of Brutus and his party 
prevented the meditated projects of Caesar. In this museum , Cicero 
frequently pursued his studies , during the time his friend Fauslus 


W ttie cbarge of 11 ; wWcli he describes to Attieus in Us 4th Book , 
Ggist 9. Amidst his public occupations and his private studies , el- 
tber oflhem sufficient to have inunortalised one man , we are asto- 
msbed at the miimle attention Cicero paid to the formation of his 
Bbraries, and his cabinets of antiquities. 

The emperors were ambitious at length to give their names to 
the libraries they founded ; they did not consider the purple as their 
chief ornament Augustus was himself an author ; and to one of those 
sumptuous building caDed Thermes, ornamented with porticos , 
gaHeries , and statues , with shady walks , and refreshing baths, tes- 
tified his love of literature by adding a magnificent library. One of 
these libraries he fondly called by the name of his sister Octavia ; 
and ttie other, the tem|de of Apollo , became the haunt of the poets , 
as Horace , Juvenal , and Persius , have commemorated. The succes- 
sors of Augustas imitated his example , and even Tiberius had an 
. imperial library, chiefly consisting of works concerning the empire 
and the acts of its sovereigns. These Trajan augmented by the Ulpian 
library, so denominated from the family name of this prince. In a 
word , we have accounts of the rich ornaments the ancients bestowed 
OD Iheir Hbraries ^ of their floors paved with marMe , their walls co- 
vered with glass and ivory, ami their shelves and desks of ebony 
and cedar. ^ 

The first pui/ic Ubrary in Italy was founded by a person of no WmC 
coifiideraUe fortune : his credit , his frugality, and fortitude , were rj ^ 
indeed equal to a b^asury. Nichobfi Niccoli , the son of a merchant, ^ ' 
alter the death of his father relinquished the beaten roads of gain , /^ T 
and devoted his soul to study, and his fortune to assist students. At 
his death, he left his library to the public, but his debts being greatr- 
er than his effects, the princely generosity of Cosmo de' Medici reali- 
sed the intention of its former possessor, and afterwards ^riched it 
by the addition of an apartment , in which he placed the Greek, He- 
brew , Arabic , Chaldaic , and Indian MSS. The intrepid spirit of 
fificholas y . laid the foundations of the Vatican ; the affection of Car- 
dinal Bessarion for his country first gave Venice the rudiments of a 
public library ; and to Sir T. Bodley we owe the invaluable one 
of Oxford. Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Hans Sloane , Dr. Birch , M. Cra- 
cherode, and others of this race of lovers of books, have all contribu- 
ted to form these literary treasures, which our nation owe to the en- 
thusiasm of individuals, who have consecrated their fortunes and 
Iheir days to this great public object ; or, which in the result produ- 
ces the same public good, the coUections of such men have been fre- 
quently purchased on their deaths, by government, and thus have 
been preserved entire in our national collections. 

LiTEBATURE , like Tirtue , is often its own reward; and the en- 


ihusiasm some experience in the permanent enjoyments of a tast 
library has far outweighed the neglect or the calumny of the world, 
which some of its votaries have received. From the time that Cicero 
poured forth his feelings in his oration for the poet Archias , innu- 
merable are the testimonies of men of letters of the pleasurable deli- 
rium of their researches. Richard de Bury, Bishop of Durham , and 
Chancellor of England so early as 1341 , perhaps raised the first 
private library in our country. He purchased thirty or forty volumes 
of the Abbot of St. Albans for fifty pounds weight of silver. He was so 
enamoured of his large collection, that he expressly composed a trea- 
tise on his love of books , under the title oiPhUobibUon ,* and which 
has been recently translated. 

He who passes much of his time amid such vast resources , and 
does not aspire to make some small addition to his library, were it 
only by a critical catalogue, must itfdeed be not more animated than 
a leaden Mercury. He must be as indolent as that animal called the 
Sloth, who perishes on the tree he climbs, after he has eaten all its 

Rantzau , the founder of the great library at Copenhagen , whose 
days were dissolved in the pleasures of reading, discovers his taste 
and ardour in the following elegant effusion : — 

Salrete aoreoU met llbelli , 
Me» deHci» , iMi lepores ! 
Qnun TO* tspe ocolU jnvat ridare » 
£t trito* numibns tanere noftrisl 
Tot Tos eximii, tot eiuditi, 
l*mci Itun'ma sccoli et recentis, 
Confecere Tiri» cuas^e Tobls 
Auai credere lucabrationet : 
Kt cperare docni perenne icriptis ; 
Neqoe hcc irrita apes fefellit illot. 

Golden Tolomes! richest treasnres! 
Objects of delicioos pleasures \ 
You my eyes rejoicing please , 
Yon my hands in raptnre seize \ 
Brilliant wits, and mnsing sages , 
Lights who beam*d through many ages , 
Left to your conscious leaves their story , 
And dared to trust you with their glory; 
And now their hope of fame achieved. 
Dear volomes, you have not deceived! 

This passion for the acquisition and enjoyment o{ boohs ha&been 
Ihe occasion of their lovers embellishing their outsides with costly 
ornaments, a rage which ostenlation may have abused-, but when 


Uiese volumes belong to the read man of letters, the most fancirul 
faiiidiDgs are often the emblems of his taste and feelings. The great 
Tbuaous procured the finest copies for his library, and his volumes 
aresttiieageriy purchased , bearing his autograph on the last page. 
A celebrated amateur iras GroOier ; the Muses themselyes could not 
more ii^oiously have ornamented their favourite woiics. I have 
sen sereral in the libraries of curious coUectors. He embellished 
thdr exterior with taste and ingenuity. They are gilded and stamped 
witli peculiar neatness ; the compartments on the binding are drawn, 
and painted, with different ihvenlions of subjects , analogous to the 
woris themsehres ; and they are further adorned by that amiable 
iDseription , /o. GroUieriiet amicorumf — ^purporting that these 
lilenry treasures were collected for'himself and for his fHends ! • 

The ftunfly of the Fuggers had long felt an hereditary passion 
for Uie aceumuktion of literary treasures : and their portraits , with 
ottien in their picture gallery, form a curious quarto volume of 
127 portraits, rare even in Germany, entitled ^^ Fuggerorum Pi- 
naeotlM^" Woffius , who daily haunted their celebrated library, 
poors out his gratitude in some Greek verses , and described this 
biUiotberpie as a literary heaven , fti^nished with as many books as 
toe were stars in the Ormament ; or as a literary garden , in which • 
he passed entire days in gathering fruit and flowers , delighting and 
ioifrQeting himseir by perpetual occupation. ^ . 

In 1364 , the royal library of France did not exceed twenty vo- •^^ ^ 
IwMs. Shortly after, Gharies V7 increased it to 900, which by the (^ j ./< 
Ue of war, ^ much at least as by that of money, the Duke of Bed- 
ford afterwards purchased and transported to London , where libra- 
ries were smaller than on the continent, about 1440. It is a cir- 
<^0Bistnice worthy observation, that the French sovereign, Charles Y, 
nnuBed the Wise, ordered that thirty portable lights, with a sil- 
ver lamp suqiended from the centre , should be illuminated at night, 
that students might not find their pursuits interrupted at any hour, 
^buy among us,^ at this moment, whose professional avocations 
^M not of morning studies, find that the resources of a public 
iiinFT ve not accessible to them from the omission of the regula- 
te of the xealoiis Charles Y. of France. An objection to night- 
<<udies in public libraries is the danger of fire , and in our own 
British Museum not a light is permitted to be carried about on any 
Pf^elme whatever. The history of the '' Biblioth^e dil Roi " is a 
<^vious incident in literature ; and the progress of the human mind 
^ pttMie opinion might be traced by its gradual accessions , noting 
te changeable qualities of its literary stores chiefly from theology, 
b«, and medicine, to philosophy and elegant literature. Itwas first un- 
to^LouisXIV, that the productions of the art of engraving were there 


collected and arranged ; the great mioisler Colbert purchased 4he 
extensive collections of the Abb6 De Marolles , who may be ranked 
imong the fathers of our print-collectors. Two hundred and sixty- 
bur ample portfolios laid the foundations ; and the catalogues of his 
collections , printed by Marolles himself, are rare and high-priced. 
Our own national print gallery is yet an inilint establishment. 

Mr. Hallam has observed , that in 1440, England had made cobh- 
paratiyely but little progress in learning — and Germany was pro- 
bably still less advanced. However, in Germany, Trithemius , the 
celebrated abbot of Spanhelm, who died in 1516, had amassed 
about two thousand manuscripts; a literary treasure which excited 
such general attention , that princes and eminent men traveHed U> 
visit Trithemius and his library. About this time, six or ei^ht 
hundred volumes formed a royal collection, and their cost could 
only be fiirnished by a prince. This was indeed a great advancement 
in libraries , for at the beginning of the fourteenth century the ii* 
brary of Louis IX. contained only four classical authors *, and that of 
Oxford , in 1300 , consisted of ^' a few tracts kept in chests.'' 

The pleasures of study are classed by Burton among those exer- 
cises or recreations of the mind which pass within doors. Looking 
about this ^' world of books ,'' he exclaims, ^^ I could even live and 
die with such meditations , and take more delight and true content 
of mind in them than in aU thy wealth and sport ! There is a sweetr 
iuess , which, as Circe's cup, bewitcheth a student; he cannot leave 
off, as well may witness those many laborious hours, days , and 
nights , spent in their voluminous treatises. So sweet is the delight 
^ of study. The last day is prioris discipulus. Heinsius was mewed 

I tuyi C up ii^ ^ library of Leyden all the year long , and that which , to 
^ my thinking , should have i>red a loathing , caused in him a greater 
«3*^^-t liking. ' I no sooner ,' saith he , ' come into the library, bat I iM>lt 
the door to me , excluding Lust, Ambition , Avarice, and all such 
vices, whose nurse is Idleness, the mother of Ignorance and Me- 
lancholy. In the very lap of eternity, amongst so many divine souls, 
I take my seat with so lofty a spirit , and sweet content , that I pity 
all our great ones and rich men, that know not this happiness. ' '' 
Such is the incense of a votary who scatters it on the altar less for 
the ceremony than from devotion. 

There is , however, an intemperance in study, incompatible often 

I with our social or more active duties. The illustrious Grotius expo- 

I sed himself to the reproaches of some of his contemporaries for ha- 

' ving too warmly pursued his studies , to the detriment of his public 

station* It was ttie boast of Gcero , that his philosophical studies had 

never interfered with the services he owed the republic , and that ho 

had only dedicated to them the hours which others give to their 




vals, their repasts , and their pleasures. Looking on his voKiminous 
laboois, we are surprised at this observation; how honourable is it 
to Mm, that bis yarious philosophical works bear the titles of the 
(fifferenl villas be possessed, which indicates that they were compo- 
sed in these respective retirements! Cicero must have been an early 
riser-, and i»ractised that magic art in the employment of time which 
miilliplics oordays. ^g^ . ^^ q^^^;. ^o 


Thb -preceding artiele is honouraMe to literature, yet even a 
pMsion for conecliilg books is not always a pa^ion for literature. 

The BiBUOMANiA, or the coDecting an enormous heap of books 
without intdttgent corio^ty, has, since libraries have existed, in- 
feeled weak minds , who imagine that they themselves acquire 
knowledge when fhey keep it on their shelves. Their motley libraries 
have been caDed the madhouses of the human mind; and again , 
the tomb of books, when the possessor will not communicate 
them , and coffins them up in the cases of his library. It was face- 
tioosly observed, these collections are not without a Loch on the 
Hunum Understanding. ' 

'nie BiBUOM ANIA never raged more violenty than in our own 
times. It Is fortunate that literature is in no ways injured by the fol- 
lies of coBelTKm, since though they preserve the worthless, they 
n c cc aca rtiy protect the good. 

Some ccdiectors place all their fame on the view of a splendid 
library, wbere voimnes arrayed in all the pomp of lettering, silk 
liatngs, triple gold bands, and tinted leather, are locked up in wire 
cases, and secured fh)m the vulgar hands of the mere reader , daz- 
zliDgr cmr eyes Ifte eastern beauties peering through their jalousies ! 

Bruterb has touched on this mania with humour : ^^ Of such a 
coHector, as soon as I enter his house , I am ready to faint on the 
slalrcase , fhmi a strong smell of Morocco leather : in vain he shows 
noe fine editions , goM leaves , Etruscan bindings , and naming them 
oneatfler aoottier, as if he were showing a gallery of pictures ! a gal- 
lery, by the by, which he seldom traverses when alone, for he 
rai^ reads -, Imt me he offars to conduct through it ! I thank him 
for Ms politeness , and as little as himsdf care to visit the tan- 
house, widch be calls his library.'' 

' An aUosioii and piiii whick occasioned the French translator of the pre* 
seat work ui unlucky blunders puizled no doubt hymj facetiously ^ he trans « 
iates " mettant, comme on Ta trUjudicieus^ment iait observer, Tentendement 
bomain sous la clef." The book, and the author alluded to, quite escaped. 


LuciAN has composed a biting ioTectiYe against an ignorant pos- 
sessor of a vast library, like him, who in the present day, after 
turning oyer the pages of an old book , chiefly admires the date. 
LuGiAN compares him to a pilot , who was never taught the science 
of navigation ; to a rider who cannot keep his seat on a spirited 
horse; to a man who not haying the use of his feet, would con- 
ceal the defect by wearing embroidered shoes ; but, alas! he can- 
not stand in them! He ludicrously compares him to Thersites 
wearing the armour of Achilles, tottering at every step; leering 
with his little eyes under his enormous helmet, and Ids hunch- 
back raishig the cuirass above his shoulders. Why do you buy 
so many books? You have no hair, and you purchase a comcb^ 
you are blind , and you will have a grami mirror ; you are deaf, 
and you will have fine musical instruments ! Your costly bindings 
are only a source of vexation , and you are continually dischar- 
ging your librarians for not preserving them from the silent in^^ 
vasion of the worms, and the nibbling triumphs of the rats! 

iSuch collectors will contemptuously smile at the collection of 
the amiable Melancthon. He possessed in his library only four 
authors, — ^Plato , Pliny, Plutarch, and Ptolemy the geographer. 

Ancillon was a great collector of curious books, and dexterously 
defended himself when accused of the Bibliomania. He gave a 
good reason for buying the most elegant editions ; which he did not 
consider merely as a literary luxury. The less the eyes are fatigued 
In reading a work , the more liberty the mind feels to Judge of it : 
and as we perceive more clearly the excellencies and defects of a 
printed book than when in MS. ; so we see them more plainly in 
good paper and clear type than when the impression and paper are 
both bad. He always purchased^r^t editions y and never waited for 
second ones ; though it is the opinion of some that a first edition is 
only to be considered as an imperfect essay , which the author pro- 
poses to finish after he has tried the sentiments of the literary worid. 
Bayle approves of Ancillon's plan. Those who wait calmly for a book 
till it is reprinted, show plainly that they are resigned to their 
ignorance , and prefer the saving of a pistole to the acquisition of 
knowledge. With one of these persons , who waited for a second 
edition , which never appeared, a literary man argued, that it was 
much better to have two editions of a book than to deprive himself 
of the advantage which the reading of the first might procure him; 
and it was a bad economy to prefer a few crowns U> that advantage. 
It has frequently happened , besides , that in second editions , the. 
author omits, as well as adds, or makes alterations from prudential 
reasons; the displeasing truths which he corrects , as he might call 
them, are so many losses incurred by Truth itself. There is an ad-* 


vantage in comparing the first with subsequent editions ; among 
other ttungs^ we feel great satisfaction in tracing the variations of a 
work, after its revision. There are also other secrets , well known 
lo the int^igent curious , who are versed in affairs relating to books. 
Many first editions are not to be purchased for the treble value of 
later ones. The collector we have noticed frequently said , as is re- 
lated of Virgfl, " I coHect gold from Ennius's dung. " I find, in 
some neglected authors particular things , not elsewhere to be found. 
He read many of these, but not with equid attention — " Sicut cam's 
adNOum bibens etjugiens; " like a dog at the Nile, drinking 
and running. 

Fortunate are those who only consider a book for the utility and 
pteasure they may derive from its possession. Students , who know 
much, and stilt thirst to know more, may require this vast sea of 
i)ookS', yet in that sea they may suffer many shipwrecks. 

Great coUectiom of books are subject to certain accidents besides 
the damp, the worms , and the rats ; one not less common is that of 
the borrowers , not to say a word of the purhiners! 


Wbeic writers were not numerous, and readers rare, the unsuc- 
cessftil author fell insensibly into oblivion -, he distolved away in his 
own weakness. If he committed the private folly of printing what 
DO one woukl purctu^e , he was not arraigned at the public tribunal 
— «nd the awfUl terrors of his day of judgment consisted only in the 
retributions of his publisher's final accounts. At length, a taste for 
lileratore spiead through the body of the people ; vanity induced the 
iaexperienced and the ignorant to aspire to literary honours. To 
oppose these forcible entries into the haunts of the Muses , periodical 
eriticism brandished its formidable weapon^ and the fall of many , 
taaght some of our greatest geniuses to rise. Multifarious writings 
produced multiDarious strictures ; and public criticism reached to 
such perdection, that taste was generally diffused, enlightening 
those whose occupations had otherwise never permitted them to 
judge of hterary compositions. 

The invention (rfREvrew^^in the form which they have at length 
gradually assumed , could not have existed imt in the most polished 
ages of hterature : for without a constant supply of authors, and a 
refined spirit of criticism , they couM not excite a perpetual interest 
among the lovers of literature. These publications were long the 
chronicles of taste and science , presenting the existing stale of the 
public mind , while they formed a ready resource for those idle hours, 
which men of letters would not pass idly. 


Their nraittplioity has undoufiledly produced imieh evil ; puerile 
critics and yenal drudges manufoeture reviews ; hence that shameful 
discordance of (^nion , which is the scorn and scandal of criticism. 
Passions hosl^e to the peaceful truM^of titerahu*e Jiave Kkewise 
made tremendous inroads in the republic , and every literary virtue 
has been lost! In ** Calamities of Authors " I have given the history 
of a literary conspiracy , conducted by a solitary critic, Gilbert 
Stuart, against the historian Henry. 

These works may disgust by vapid panegyric , or gross invective ; 
weary by uniform dulness, or tantalise by superficial knowledge. 
Sometimes merely written to catch the public attention , a malignity 
is indulged against authors, to season the caustic leaves. A reviewer 
has admired those works in private , which he has condemned in his 
ofl^ial capacity. But good sense , good temper , and good taste , will 
ever form an estimable Journalist, who will inspire confidence, and 
give stability to his decisions. 

To the lovers of literature these volumes , when they have outlived 
their year, are not unimportant. They constitute a great portion of 
literary history , and are indeed the annals of the republic. 

To our own reviews , we must add the 6id foreign journals , 
which are perhaps even more valuable to the man of letters. Of these 
the variety is considerable^ and mway of their writers are now 
known. They delight our curiosity by opening new views, and ' 
light up in observing minds many projects of works, wanted in our 
own literature. Gibbon feasted on them ; and while he turned them 
over with constant pleasure, derived accurate notions of workit 
which no student could himself have verified ; of many works a no- 
tion is sufficient. 

The origin of literary journ als was the happy project of Denis dr 
Sallo , a counsellor in the parliament of Paris. In 1665 appeared 
"his Journal des Sas^ans, He published his essay in the name of the 
sieur de Hedouville, his footman! Was this a mere stroke of hu- 
nM)ur, or designed to inshfiuate that the freedom of criticism could 
only be aUowed to his lacquey? The work, however, met with so 
favourable a reception , that Sallo had the satisfhction of seeing it , 
the following year, imitated throughout Europe , and his Journal , 
at the same time, translated into various languages. But as most 
authors lay themselves open to an acute critic, the animadversions 
of Sallo were given with such asperity of criticism , and such ma- 
lignity of wit, that this new Joomal excited loud murmurs , and the 
most heart-moving complaints. The learned had their plagiarisms 
detected , and the wit had his claims disputed. Sarasin called the 
ga^tes of this new Arittarchus ^ Hebdomadary Flams ! BUlevezees 
hebdomadaires ! and Menage having puUfehed a law-book , which. 


SaUohad b-ealed witti sewe raillery, he enlered ink) a long argu- 
menC to prove, according to Jwliniaii , thai a lawyer is not aUowed 
(odefome another lawyer, etc. : Senatori maledicere non licet, 
renudedicerejusfasque est. Others loudly declaimed against this 
new species of imperial tyranny, and this attempt to regulate the 
puWc ofrfnion by that of an individual. SaUo , after having published 
only his third volume , felt the inritsM wasps of literature thronging 
so thick ahoQt him , that he very gladly abdicated the throne of cri- 
ticism. The joornal is said to have sirfTered a short interruption bya 
remonstrance from the nuncio of the pope, fw the energy with 
winch Stilo had defended the liberties of the Galilean church. 

Intmiidaled by the fate of Sallo, his successor, Abb^ Gallois , 
flourished m a milder reign. He contented himself with giving the 
tiUes of books, accon^anied with extracts; and he was more useful 
than hiterestiDg. The public , who had been so much amused by the 
raillery and severity of the founder of this dynasty of new critics , 
now monttured nt the want of that salt and acidity by which they had 
relished the ftigitive coUation. They were not satisfied with having 
the most beautify J or the most curious parts of a new work brought 
together; they wished lor the unreasonable entertainment of railing 
and raillery. At length another objection was coloured up against 
the review; mathematicians com^ained ttiey were neglected la 
iMke room for experiments in nabiral philosophy; the historian 
sickened over works of natural history ; the antiquaries would have 
nothing but discoveries of M8S. or fragments of antiquity. Medical 
wofks were caHed for by one party and reprobated by another. In a 
^'ord, each reader wished only to have accounts of books, which 
were interosting to his profession or his taste. But a review is a work 
presented to the public at large, and written for more than one 
cotwtry. In spite of all these difficulties, this work was carried to a 
vast ^Uent. An index to Wt^' Journal des Swans has been ar- 
""sn^ on a critical plan , occupying ten volumes in quarto , which 
"nay be eonodered as a most usefUl instrument to obtain the science 
^ iiteratnre of the entire cenhiry . 

The next celebrated reviewer is BayijEj, who undertook, inl684, 
his Nouvelles de la RepubUque" des Lettres. He possessed the 
art, acquired by habit, of reading a book by his fingers , as it has 
heen hai^ily expressed ; and of comprising , in concise extracts , a 
jnslEoUonof a book, without the adAUon of irretevant matter. Live- 
^neal, and fuU of that attic salt which gives a relish to the 
wiest disqidsltioBs, for the first time the ladies and aU the beau- 
'^ofuie took an interest in the labours of the critic. He wreathed 
«» rod of criticism with roses. Yet even Bayle , who declared 
himself to be a reporter, and not a judge , Bayle the discreet 


scepUc, could not long satisry his rea^rs. His panegyric was 
tliougiit somewhat prodigal ^ his fluency of style somewhat too 
familiar; and others aCTected not to relish his gaiety. In his latter 
volumes, to still the clamour, he assumed the cold sobriety of an 
historian : and has bequeathed no mean legacy to the literary world , 
in thirty-sii small volumes of criticism, closed in 1687. These were 
continued by Bernard , with inferior skill ; and by Basnage more 
successfully in his Histoire des Ou\^ages des Sgai^am. 

The contemporary and the antagonist of Bayle was Lb Clerc. 
His firm industry has produced three Bibliothkques — VmyferseUe 
et Historique, Choisie, and Ancierme et Moderne; forming in 
all 82 volumes, which, complete, bear a high price. Inferior to 
Bayle in the more pleasing talents , he is perhaps superior in eru- 
dition , and shows great skill in analysis : but his hand drops no 
flowers! Aposlcrfo Zeno's Giomale de, Lmeratid^ Italia, from 
1710 to 1733, is valuable. Gibbon resorted to Le Clerc's volumes 
at his leisure , '^ as an inexhaustible source of amusement and in- 

Beausobre and L'Enfant, two learned Prdlestants , wrote a 
Bibtwthdque Germanujue, from 1720 to 1740, in 60 volumes. 
Our own literature is interested by the '^ Bibliot/ieque Briton" 
nique,'' written by some literary Frenchmen, noticed by La Croze 
in his '' Voyage Littiraire," who designates the writers in this most 
tantalising manner : ^' Les auteurs sont gens dem^rite, et qui en- 
tendent tous parfaitement'Tanglais*, Messrs. S. B., leM. D. et le 
savant Mr. D.'' Posterity lias been partially let into the secret : De 
Missy was one of the contributors, and Warburton communicated 
his project of an edition of Yelleius Paterculus. This useful account 
of English books begins in 1733 , and closes in 1747, Hague , 
23 vols. : to this we must add The Journal Britannique ^ in 18 vo- 
lumes, by Dr. Maty, a foreign physiciaq residing in London ^ this 
Journal exhiSils'a view of the state of English literature from 1750 
to 1755. Gibbon bestows a high character on the Journalist, who 
sometimes ^^ aspires to the character of a poet and a philos(q>her; 
one of the last disciples of the school of Fontenelle." 

Maty's son produced here a review known to the curious *, his 
style and decisions often discover haste and heat, with some striking 
observations : alluding to his father. Maty, in his motto, applies 
Yirgirs description of the young Ascanius, '^Sequiturpatrem non 
passibus icquis.'' He says he only holds a monthly conversation 
with the public. His obstinate resolution of carrying on this review 
without an associate , has shown its folly and its danger^ for a fatal 
illness produced a cessation , at oace , of his periodical labours and 
his life. 


(Hhcr reviews , are the Memoires de Trevoux, written by the 
Jesuits. Their caustic censure and Yivacity of style made them re- 
doubtable in their day ^ they did not even spare their brothers. The 
Journal Utteraire, printed at the Hague, was chiefly composed 
by Prosper Marchand , SaUengre , Van EfTen , who were then young 
writers. This list may be augmented by other Journals , which some- 
times merit presenratioD in the history of modem literature. 

Our early English journals notice only a few publications , with 
litOe acumen. Of these, the ^^ Memoirs of Literature/' and the 
'^ Present State of the Republic of Letters,'' are the best. The 
Monthly Review , the venerable ( now the deceased) mother of our 
journals , commenced in 1749. 

It is tmposnUe to form a literary journal in a manner such as 
might be vnshed ; it must be the work of many of different tempers 
and talents. An individual, however versatile and extensive his 
g^us , would soon be exhausted. Such a regular labour occasion- 
ed Bayle a dangerous illness , and Maty fell a victim to his review. 
A prospect always extending as we prooeed, the IVequent novelty of 
the matter, the pride of considering one's self as the arbiter of lite- 
rature, animate a journalist at the commencement of his career ^ 
but (he literary Hercules becomes fetigued ; and to supply his 
craving pages he gives copious extracts , tiU the journal becomes 
tedious, or fails in varicAy: Abb6 Gallois was IVequenUy diverted 
firom continuing his journal, and Fontenette remarks, that this oc- 
cupation was too restrictive for a mind so extensive as his ; the Abb6 
could not resist the charms of revelling in a new work , and gratify- 
ing any sudden curiosity which seized him ; this interrupted perpe- 
tuaDy the regularity which thMubhc expects firom a journalist. 

'The character of a periecll9ma)ist would be only an ideal por- 
trait ; there are, however, some acquirements which are indispen- 
sable. He must be t(derably acquainted with the subjects he treats § 
on^ no common acquirement ! He must possess the literary history f 
^ his own times; a science which Fontenelle observes is almost I 
distinct fh>m any other. It is the result of an active curiosity, which* 
takes a lively interest in the tastes and pursuits of the age , while it 
saves ttie journalist from some ridiculous blunders. We often see 
the mind of a reviewer half a century remote ttom the work re- 
riewed. A fine feeling of the various manners of writers , with a 
style adapted to fix the attention of the indolent , and to win the 
untractable , shouM be his study ; but candour is the brightest gem 
of criticisn ! He ought not to throw every thing into the crucible , 
nor should he suffer the whole to pass as if he trembled to touch 
it Lampoons and satires in time will lose their effect , as weU as 
panegyrics. He must learn to resist the seductions of his own pen ; 


ibe pretansion of composing a treatise on the subject, rather than 
on the book he criticises — ^proud of insinuating that he gives , in a 
dozen pages, what the author himself has not been able to perform 
in his volumes. Should he gain confidence by a popular delusion 
And by unworthy conduct, he may chance to be mortified by the 
pardon or by the chastisement of insulted genius. The most noble 
criticism is that in which the critic is not the antagonist so much 
as the rival of the author. j^ ^^ 


Our ancient classics had a yery narrow escape from total anni- 
hilation. Many have perished : many are but fragments ; and chance, 
blind arbiter of the works of genius, has left us some , not of the 
highest yalue ; which , however, have proved very usefhl , as a test 
\Q show the pedantry of those who adore antiquity not from true 
feeling, but from traditional prejudice. 

We lost a great number of 'ancient authors , by the conquest of 
Egypt by the Saracens , which deprived Europe of the use of the 
papyrus. They could find no substitute , and knew no other expe- 
dient but vniting on parchment , which became every day more 
scarce and costly. Ignorance and barbarism unfortunately seized 
on Roman manuscripts, and industriously defaced pages once ima- 
gined to have been immortal ! The most elegant compositions of 
classic Rome were converted into the psalms of a breviary, or the 
prayers of a missal. Livy and Tacitus ^' hide their diminished heads'' 
to preserve the legend of a saint, and immortal truths were converted 
into clumsy fictions. It happened ti||l the most voluminous authors 
were the greatest sufferers ; thesRrere preferred , because their 
volume being the greatest, most profitably repaid their destroying 
^ industry, and furnished ampler scope for fhture transcription. A 
Livy or a Diodorus was preferred to the smaller works of Cicero or 
Horace *, and it is to this' circumstance that Juvenal, Persius, and 
^Martial have come down to us entire , rather probably than to these 
pious personages preferring their obscenities, as some have accused 
them. At Rome , a part of a book of Livy was found , between the 
lines of a parchment but half effaced, on which they had substituted 
a book of the Bible ; and the recent discovery of Cicero de Repu- 
blicdy which lay concealed under some monkish writing, shows 
the fate of ancient manuscripts. 

That the Monks had not in high veneration the profane authors, 
aM)ears by a facetious anecdote. To read the classics was considered 
as a very idle recreation , and some held them in great horror. To 
distinguish them from other books, they invented a disgraceful sign : 


when a monk asked for a pagan author, after making the. general 
sign they used in (heir manual and silent language when they wanted 
a book, he added a particular one , which consisted in scratching 
under his ear, as a dog, which feels an itching, scratches himself 
in that place with his paw — ^because, said they, an unbeUeyer is 
compared to a dog ! In this manner they expressed an itching for 
those dogs, Yirgil or Horace ! 

There have been ages when , for the possession of a manuscript , 
some would transfer an estate , or leave in pawn for its loan hund- 
reds of golden crowns ^ and when even the sale or loan of a manus- 
cript was considered of such importance as to have been solenmly 
registered by public acts. Absolute as was Louis XI. he could not 
obtain the MS. of Rasis , an Arabian writer, to make a copy , from 
the library of the Faculty of Paris, without pledging a hundred gold- 
en crowns; and the president of his treasury , charged with this 
commission , sold part of his {^te to make the deposit. For the loan 
of a volume of Avicenna , a Baron offered a pledge of ten marks of 
silver, which was refused : because it was not considered equal to 
the risk incurred of losing a volume of Avicenna ! These events 
occurred in 1471. One cannotbut smile at an anterior period , when 
a countess of Anjou bought a favourite book of homilies for two 
hundred sheep , some skins of martins , and bushels of wheat and rye. 

In these times , manuscripts were important articles of commerce ; 
they were excessively scarce , and preserved with the utmost care. 
Usurers themselves considered them as precious objects for pawn. 
A student of Pavia , who was reduced , raised a new fortune by leav- 
ing in pawn a manuscript of a body of law \ anda grammarian , who 
was mined by a fire , rebuilt his house with two small volumes of 

At the restoration of letters , the researches of literary men were 
chiefly directed to this point \ every part of Europe and Greece was 
ransacked \ and, the glorious end considered , there was something 
sublime in this humble industry, which often recovered a lost au- 
thor of antiquity , and gave one more classic to the world. This oc- 
cupation was carried on with enthusiasm, and akind of mania pos- 
sessed many who exhausted their fortunes in distant voyages and 
profuse prices. In reading the correspondence of the learned Ita- 
lians of these times , their adventures of manuscript hunting are 
very amusing; and their raptures, their congratulations, or at times 
their condolence, and even their censures, are all immoderate. The 
acquisition of a province would not have given so much satisfaction 
as the discovery of an author little known, or not known alall. ^^Ofa, 
greatgain ! Oh , unexpected feticily ! I intreat you, my Poggio, send 
me the manuscript as soon as possible, that I may see It before I die !'' 


exciaiios Arelino, in a letter overflowing with enthusiasm, on 
Poggio's discovery of a copy of Quintilian. Some of the half-witted, 
who joined in this great hunt , were often thrown out, and some paid 
high for manuscripts not authentic ; the knave played on the bung- 
ling amateur of manuscripts , whose credulity exceeded his purse. 
But even among the learned , much ill blood was inflamed ; he who 
had been most successful in acquiring manuscripts was envied by 
the less fortunate, and the glory of possessing a manuscript of Cicero 
seemed to approximate to that of being its author. It is curious to 
observe that in these vast importations into Italy of manuscripts from 
Asia, John Aurispa, who brought many hundreds of Greek manu- 
scripts , laments that he had chosen more profane than sacred wri- 
ters •, which circumstance he tells us was owing to the Greeks, who 
would not so easily part with theological works, but' they did not 
highly value profane writers! 

These manuscripts were discovered in the obscurest recesses of 
monasteries ^ they were not always imprisoned in libraries, but rot- 
ting in dark unfrequented comers with rubbish. Itrequired not less 
ingenuity to And out places where to grope in, than to understand 
the value of the acquisition. A universal ignorance then prevailed in 
the knowledge of ancient writers. A scholar of those times gave the 
first rank among the Latin writers to one Valerius , whether he 
meant Martial or Maximus is uncertain; he placed Plato and TuUy 
among the poets, and imagined that Ennius and Statins were con- 
temporaries. A library of six hundred volumes was then considered 
as an extraordinary collection. 

Among those whose lives were devoted to this purpose Poggio the 
Florentine stands distinguished ; but he complains that his zeal was 
not assisted by the great. He found under a heap of rubbish in a 
decayed cofl^er , in a tower belonging to the monastery of St. Gallo, 
the work of Quintilian. He is* indignant at its forlorn situation; at 
least, he cries, it should have been preserved in the library of the 
monks ; but I found it in teterrimo quodam et obscuro carcere — 
and to his great joy drew it out of its grave! The monks have been 
complimented as the preseners of literature, but by facts , like the 
present, their real aCTection may be doubted. 

The most valuable copy of Tacitus, of whom so much is wanting, 
was likewise discovered in a monastery of Westphalia. It is a curious 
circumstance in literary history, that we should owe Tacitus to this 
single copy ; for the Roman emperor of that name had copies of the 
works of his illustrious ancestor placed in an the libraries of the em- 
pire, and every year had ten copies transcribed ; but the Roman 
libraries seem to have been ail destroyed, and the imperial protection 
availed nothing against the teeth of time. 


Tbe original manuscript of Jostinian's code was Ascovered by the 
Pfsaos, accidentally, wben they took a city in Calabria; that vast 
code of laws had been hi a manner unknown from the time of that 
emperor. This curious book was brought to Pisa; and when Pisa 
VIS taJcen by the Florentfaies, was hransferred to Florence, where it 
is sifli preserved. 

Itsometiraes happened that manuscripts were discovered in the 
last agonies of existence. Papirius Masson found , in the house of a 
bodk&uiderofLymis, the woirks of Agobart; the mechanic was on 
the pomt of Qsinig the manuscripts to line the covers of his books. A 
p&geoftbe second decade of Livy it is said was found by aman of 
letos in the parchment of his battledore , while he was amusing 
bimself ui Che country. He hastened to the maker of the battledoro 
—bat arrived too late ! The man had finished the last page of Livy 
-•boat a week before! 

Many works have nhdountedly perished in this manuscript state. 
By a petition of Dr. Dee to Queen Mary, in the Cotton library, it 
wears that Cicero's treatise de Republicd was once extant in this 
coantry. Hoet observes that Petronius was probably entire in the days 
of John of Salisbury, who quotes fragments , not now to be found in 
Qieremahisof the Roman bard. Raimond Soranzo, a lawyer in the 
papa] court, possessed two books of Cicero on Glory, which he pre- 
sented to P^rarcb , who lent them to a poor aged man of letters , for- 
BJeriy his preceptor. Urged by extreme want, the old man pawned 
tbein,aDd returning home died suddenly without having revealed 
^*erebe had left them. They have never been recovered. Petrarch 
speaks of them with ecstasy, and tells us that he had studied them 
PwpeluaUy. Two centuries afterwards, this treatise on Ghjy by 
Gcero was mentioned in a catalogue of books bequeathed to a monas- 
tery of Dons, but when inquired after was missing. It was supposed 
QtttPetms Akyonius, physician to that household, purloined it, 
^ tfler transcribing as much of it as he could into his own writ- 
^, had destroyed the original. Alcyonius , in his book De Exilio, 
^critics observed , had many splendid passages which stood isolated 
ta his woit, and were quite above his genius. The beggar, or in 
^ case the Qiief , was detected by mending his rags with patches of 
IwpteandgoW. • 

I In this age (^manuscript , there is reason to believe , that when a 
B^ofletters accidentally obtained an unknown work, he did not 
I ®*e file fahrest use of it , and cautiously concealed it from his con- 
temporaries. Leonard Aretino , a distinguished scholar at the dawn of 
^|^*ra literature, having found a Greek manuscript of Procopius 
'^^ Betto Got/uco, translated it into Latin , and published the work ; 
I hileoncealiDg the author's name , it passed as his own , till another 

I. 2 


manuscript of the same work being dug out of its grave , the Itaad 
of Aretino was apparent. Barbosa , a bishop of Ugento , in 1649, has 
printed among his works a treatise , oJriained by one of his domestics 
bringing in a fish roUed in a leaf of written paper , which his eurio* 
sity led him to examine. He wifi sufficiently inter^ted to run est 
and search the fish market , till he found the manuscript out of ivluch 
it had been torn. He published it uader the title De Officio Epis- 
copL MachiaveUi acted more adroitly in a similar case ; a mamiscripl 
of the Apophthegms of the Ancients by Phitarch having Men into 
his hands , he selected those which pleased him , and put them into 
the mouth of his hero Castrutio Castricani. 

In more recent times , we might collect many curious anecdotes 
concerning manuscripts. Sir Robert Cotton one day at his tailor's 
discovered that the man was holding in his hand, ready to eiU up 
for measures — an original Magna Charta , with all its appendages of 
seals and signatures* This anecdote is 4>ld by Colomi^ , who long 
resided in this country \ and an original Magna Charta is presened 
in the Cotlonian library exhibiting marks of dilapidation. 

Cardinal Granvelle lelt behind him several chests filled with a 
prodigious quantity of letters written in different languages, com- 
mented, noted , and under-lined by his own hand. These curious 
manuscripts , after his death , were left in a garret to the mercy of 
the rain and the rats. Five or six of tiiese chests the steward scM to 
the grocers. It was then that a discovery was made of this treasure. 
Several learned men occupied themselves in collecting sufficient of , 
these literary relics to form eighty thick folios , consisting of original 
letters by all the crowned heads in Europe, with instructions for 
amt)assadors, and other state-papers. 

A valuable secret history by Sir George Mackenzie , the king's .^ 
advocate in Scotland , was rescued from a mass of waste paper soU ^ 
to a grocer, who had the good sense to discriminate it, and conmiu- | 
nicaled this curious memorial to Dr. M'Crie. The original, in the 
handwriting of its author, has been deposited in the Advocates' 
Library. There is an hiatus , which contained the history of six . 
years. This work excited inquiry after the rest of the MSS., which 
were found to be nothing more than the sweepings of an attorney's 

Montaigne's Journal of his Travels into Italy has been but recently 
published. A prebendary of Perigord , travelUng through this pro- 
vince to make researches relative to its history , arrived at the an- ' 
cient chateau of Montaigne , in possession of a descendant of this 
great man. He inquired for the archives , if there had l)een any. He * 
was shown an old worm-eaten coffer, which had long held papers 
untouched by the incurious generations of Montaigne. StiOed in ' 


olendserdiisl, he drew out the original manuseripi of the Traveli 
of Montai^e. Two ttiinls of the wofk are in the faand-writiitg «r 
MoBlaigoe, and Qie rest is written by asenrmt, who always speaks 
of his master in the ttiird person. Bat he must have written what 
MoDiaigne Staled , as flia expressions and Ihe egotisms are all Mon- 
taigne's. Hie bad writing and orfbography made it almost unintelli- 
giMe. They confinned Montaigne's own obsertation, that he was 
?ery negligent in flie oorrection of his works. 

Our ancestors were great hiders of manuscripts : Dr. Dee's sin^ 
goto MSS. ^ware found to the secret draw^ of a chest, which had 
passed thnnigh many hands undiscoyered ; and that vast coUeotion 
of rtale-pqierB of Timrloe's, ^e secretary of Cromwell , which 
formed dboui seTenty Toturaes to the original manuscripts, accident- 
iHy fey oirt of the false ceiHng of some chambers to LincotoVInn. 

A ooBBiderabie portion of Lady Mary Worfley Montague's letters I 
<HsooTered in the hands of an attorney : ftmity-peqpers are often con- 
signed to efflces of lawyers , where many vakiabie nuoniscripts are 
buried. Posthumous publications of this kind are too frequently made 
from sordid motlYes : dteoemmoit and taste would oidy be detrimen- 
III fo ttie views of balky publishers. 


It may, perhaps, be some satisfection to show the young writer, 
that file most celebrated ancients have been as rudely subjected to 
the tyraimy of criticism as the modems. DetracticMi has ever poured 
the ^' ymtsn of bitterness." 

It was gi?en out, that Homer had stdra from anterior poets what- 
efer was most remarkable in the Iliad and Odyssey. Naucrates even 
poinls onA fte source in the libr^ at Meikiphis in a temple of Vul- 
can, whMi accordtog to Mm the blind bard completely piUaged. 
UndoidMeAy th^« were good poets before Homer ^ how absurd to 
conceive (hat an elaborate poem could be the first ! We have indeed 
aecounls of anterior t)oete, and apparency of epics, before Homer; 
lliiB notices Syagras, who composeda poem on the Siege of Troy, 
and Soidas the poem of Corinnus, ftt>m which it is said Homer 
greatly borrowed. Why did Plato so severely condonn the great bard, 
and Imitate ^m? 

SoptMN^es wm brought to trid by his children as a kmatic ; and 
some , who censured the inequalities of this poet , have idso condem- 
ned the vanity of Pindar; the rough verses of .^ischylus ; and Euri- 
pides, for the conduct of his plots. 

Socrates, considered as the wisest and the most nwral of men, 
Qcero trts^A as an usurer, »m1 the pedant Athensus as illiterate ; 


the latter points out as a Socratic fblly our philosopher disserting on 
the nature of justice before his Judges, who were so many thieves. 
The malignant JMifTooncry of Aristophanes treats him mudi worse ; 
but he , as Jortin says , was a great wit , but a great rascal. 

Plato— who has been called , by Clement of Alexandria , the Moses 
of Athens^ the philosopher of the Christians, by Amobius; and the 
god of philosophers , by Cicero— Athenieus accuses of envy ^ Theo- 
pompus , of lying ; Suidas , of avarice ; Aulus Gellius , of robbery ^ 
Porphyry, of incontinence ; tod Aristophanes , of impiety. 

Aristotle , whose industry composed more ttian four hundred vo- 
lumes, has not been less spared by the critics ^ Diogenes Laertios, 
Cicero, and Plutarch, have forgotten nothing that can tend to sbow 
his ignorance, his ambition , and his vanity. 

It has been said, that Plato was so envious of the celebrity of 
Democritus, that he proposed burning all his works; but that 
Amydis and Clinias prevented it, by remonstrating that there were 
copies of them every where -, and Aristotle was agitated by the same 
passion against all the philosophers his predecessors. 

Virgil is destitute of invention, if we are to give credit to Pliny, 
Carbilius, and Seneca. Caligula has absolutely denied him even me- 
diocrity ; Herennus has marked his faults ; and Perilius Faustinus 
has furnished a thick volume with his plagiarisms. Even the author 
of his apology has confessed , that he has stolen fkt>m Homer his 
greatest beauties; from Apollonius Rhodius, many of his pathetic 
passages ; from Nicander, hints for his Georgics ; and this does not 
terminate the catalogued 

Horace censures the coarse humour of Plautus; and Horace, in 
his turn , has been blamed for the f^ee use he made of the Greek 
minor poets. 

The majority of the critics regard Pliny's Natural History only as 
a heap of fables; and Pliny cannot bear with Diodorus aiMi Yopis- 
cus; and in one comprehensive criticism, treats all the historians as 
narrators of fables. 

Livy has been reproached for his aversion to the Gauls; Dion , 
for his hatred of the republic ; Yelleius Paterculus , for speaking too 
kindly of the vices of Tiberius; and Herodotus and Plutarch, for 
their excessive partiality to their own country : while the latter has 
written an entU*e treatise on the malignity of Herodotus. Xem^bon 
and Quintus Curtius have been considered rather as novelists than 
historians; and Tacitus has been censured for his audacity in pt^ 
tending to discover the political springs and secret causes of events. 
Dionysius of Halicamassus has made an elaborate attack on Tbucy- 
dides for the unskilful choice of his subject , and his manner of 
treating it. Dionysius would have nothing written but what tended 


foflieglorY of his cooiitry and the pleasure of the reader--os if his* 
lory were a song! adds Hobbes, who also shows a personal motive 
io tkns attack. The same Dionysius severely criticises the style of 
Xenophon , i^rho, he says in attempting to elevate his style, shovra 
himsctf hicapable of supporting it Polybius has been blamed for his 
frequeat introduction of reflections, which interrupt the thread of 
his narrative ^ and Sallust has been blamed by Cato for indulging his 
own private passions, and studiously concealing many of the glo- 
rioos actions of Cicero. The Jewish historian Josephus is accused of 
not haying designed his history Ibr his own people so much as for 
the Greeks and Romans, whom he takes the utmost care never to 
offend. Josephus assumes a Roman name. Flavins; and considering 
his nat^ as entirely subjugated , to make them appear dignified to 
their Anqnerors , alters what he himself calls the Holy booh. It is 
w^ known how widely he diCTers fkt>m the scriptural accounts. Some 
hare said of Cicero , that there is no connexion , and , to adopt their 
own figures , no blood and nerves, in what his admirers so warmly 
extol. Cold in his extemporaneous effusions , artificial in his exor- 
diuBis, trifling in his strained raillery, and tiresome in hisdigres- 
sioos. This b saying a good deal about Cicero. 

QidDtilian does not spare Seneca; and Demosthenes, called by 
(Scero the prince of orators, has, according to Hermippus, more 
of art than of nature. To Demades , his orations appear too much 
iafMHired; others have thought him toodry ; and, if we may trust 
iEschlnes , his language is by no means pure. 

The Attic Nights of Aulus Gellius, and the Deipnosophists of 
Athoueus , while they have been extolled by one party, have been 
degraded by another. They have been considered as botchers of 
rags and remnants ; their diligence has not been accompanied by 
judgment; and their taste inclined more to the frivolous than to the 
usefbl. Compflers , indeed, are liable to a hud fate, for tittle dis- 
tinction is made in their ranks; a disagreeable situation , in which 
honest Burton seems to have been placed ; for lie says of his woik, 
thai some will cry out , ^^ This Is a thinge of meero Industrie : a 
collection without wit or invention; a very toy! So men are va- 
lued ; theh- labours vilffled by fellowes of no worth themselves , as 
thfaigs of nought ; who could not have done as much? Some under- 
slande too little , and some too much." 

Should we proceed vrith this list to our own country , and to our own 
times , it might be curiously augmented , and show the world what 
men the Critics are! but , perhaps, enough has been said to soothe 
irritated genius, and to shame fastidious criticism. ^^I would beg 
^e critics to remember,'' the Eart of Roscommon writes , in his 
preface to Horace's Art of Poetry, ^^ that Horace owed his favour 


and his fortune lo Oie character given of him by Virgil and Varies ; 
that Fundanius and Pcrflio are still talued by vhal Horace says of 
them ^ and that , in their golden ag^ , there was a good understan^ 
ing among the ingenious, and those who were the most esteeined 
were the best natured/* 


Those who have laboured most zealously to instruct maiddnci 
have been those who have suffered most from ignorance ; and the 
discoverers of new arts and sciences have hajrdly ever lived to see 
them accepted by the world. Wijh a noble peweption of his own 
genius , Lord Bacon , in his prophetic wifl , thus expresses Mraseif. 
" For my name and memory, I leave it to men's charitable ^[)ftche8 , 
and to fordgn nations , and the next ages/' Before the times of Gar 
lileo and Harvey the world believed in the stagnation of the blood , 
and the diurnal immoveability of the earth ; and for denying these 
the one was persecuted and the other ridiculed. 

The intelligence and the virtue of Socrates were punished wM^ 
death. Anaxagoras , when he attempted lo propagate a just notion 
of the Supreme Being, was dragged to prison. Aristotle, afteir a 
long series of persecution , swallowed poison. Heraclitus , torraented 
by his countrymen , broke oflF all hitercourse with men. The great 
geometricians and ohyraists, as Gerberf*, Roger Bacon, and Cor- 
nelius Agrippa , were abhorred as magicians. Pope Gerbert, as Bi- 
shop Otho gravely relates , obtained the pontificate by having given 
himself up entirely to the devil : others suspected him looof holdmg 
an intercourse with demons ; hfii ttiis was indeed a devilish.age I 

Virgilius , Bishop of Saltzburg , having asserted thai there existed 
antipodes ^ the archbishop of Ments declared him a heretic , and con^ 
signed hun to the flames ^ and the Abbot Trithemius , who was fond 
<rf improving steganography, or the art of secret writing, having 
pubii^ed several curious works on this subject, they were c<»ideflMi^ 
ed , as works ftiU of diaboUcai mysteries ; and Frederick IL , Elec- 
tor Palatine, ordered' Trithemius's original work, which vi^as^ in his 
library, to be publicly burnt. 

Galileo was condemned at Rome puMicly to disavow sentinienfs , 
the truth of which must have been to hhn abundantly mamfosl. ^^Are 
these then my judges?" he exclaimed in refiring from the Inquisi- 
tors, whoso ignorance astonished him. He was imprisoned,, and 
visited by Milton , who tells us , he was then poor and old. The 
confessor of his widow, taking advantage of her piety, perused the 
MSS. of this great philosopher, and destroyed such as in his /udg^ 
ment were not fit to be known to the world ! 


Gabriel Navd^, in his apology for those great men who have 
leen accused of magic , lias record^ a melancholy number of the 
most enDOD^fct scholars , who have found , that to have been success- 
ful in their studies was a soccess which harrasaed them with con- 
tinual persecutioci a prison or a grate I 

GometlBB Agrippa was compelled to fly his country, and the 
eiijoyment of s^ large incone , merely for having displayed a few 
pUoBophieal ^]q)erimen(8 , whkb now every school-boy can per- 
f9im; fast nore ]|Virticttlariy having attacked the then prevailing 
opimoQ, thai St Anne bad ^ee husbands, he was obliged to 
fly from place to place. The people beheld him as an object of horror; 
and wh^i he walked, h» found the street empty at his approach. 
He (Bed in an hospital. 

In those ttees , it was a common opinion to suspect every great 
nan of an isCereoune with some famitiar spirit. The Davourite black 
dog of Agrippa was supposed lo be a demon. When Urban Grandier, 
notfaer victim to the age, was led to the stake , a large flysetUedon 
his head : a monk , who had heard that Beelzebub signifies in Hebrew 
the €U)d ot Hies , reported tM ^ saw this spirit come to take pos- 
sessioa of him. Afr. De Laagear , a French minister, who employed 
■lany spies , was fireqoently accused of diabolical communication. 
SiitustheFiflh, HarechidFUiert, Roger Bacon, C»sar Borgia, his son 
AlexaMferyi-^and others, likeSocralesi, had their diabolical attendant. 

Cardan vras believed to bea magician. An able natorahst, who hap- 
pened to know something of the arcana of nature , was immediately 
sn^Mcted of magic. Even the Ueamed themselves, who had not applied 
to natural philosophy, seem to have acted with the same feetings asthe 
most tgaorant ; for when AU»erl , usuatty cidled the Great , an epithet 
he owed to his name Oe Grant , constructed a curious piece of m^ha^ 
nism , which sent forth distinct vocd sotmds, Thomas Aquinas was so 
mneh terrified at it , that he struck it with bis staff, and , to the mor- 
tlfication of AJberX , annihilated the curious laf>our of thirty years ! 

Petrarch was less dsshnous of the laurel for the honour, than for 
am hope of being sheltered by it firom the thunder of the priests , 
by whom both he and his brother poets were conUnually threat-* 
ened. They could not imagine a poet, without supposUig him to 
hokl ao intercourse with some demon. This was , as Abb^ Resnel 
observes, having a most exalted idea of poehry, ttiough a very bad 
one of poets. An anti<-poetic Dominican vras notorious for perseci»- 
ting aB vemnafcero *, whose power he attributed to the effects of 
taBRsy and magic. The lights of philosophy have dispersed all these 
ascosatimis of magic, and have shovm a dreadful chain of perjuries 
and eonspicacies. 
Descartes was horribly persecuted in Holland , when he first pub- 


lished his q[)iiiioii8. YoeUos, a bigot of great infliwiice at Utrecht , 
accused him of atheism^ and had even projected in his mind to have 
this philosopher burnt at Utrecht in an extraordinary fire , which , 
kindled on an eminence , might be observed by the seven pro- 
vinces. Mr. Halite has observed , that ^^ the ordeal of fire was the 
great purifier of books and pien." This persecution of science and 
genius lasted till the close of the seventeenth centugr. 

^' If the metaphysician stood a chance of being bu^t as a heretic, 
the natural philosopher was not in less- Jeopard/ as a mi^cian ,"' is 
an observation of the same writer, which sums up the whole. 


Fortune has rarely condescended to be the companion of genius : 
others find a hundred by-roads to her palace ; there is but one 
open, and that a very indifferent one , for men of letters. Were 
we to erect an asylum for venerable genius , as we do for the brave 
and the helfdess part of our citizens , it might be inscribed , A Hos- 
pital for Incurables ! When even Fame will not protect the man of 
genius from Famine, Charity ought. Nor shouki such an act be 
considered as a debt incurred by the helpless member, but a just 
tribute we pay in his person to Genius itsdf. Even in these enlighW 
ened times , many have lived in obscurity, while their reputation 
was widely spread ^ and have perished in poverty, while their woite 
were enriching the J[>ooksellers. 

Of the heroes of modem literature the accounts are as copious as 
they are sorrowftil. 

Xylander sold his notes on Dion Gassios for a dinner. He tells 
us, Jhat at the age of eighteen he studied to acquire glory, but at 
twenty-five he studied to get bread. 

Cervantes , the immortal genius of Spain , is supposed to haye 
wanted food ; Camoens, the solitary pride of Portugal, deprived of 
the necessaries of Ufe , perished in a hospital at Lisbon. This feet 
has been accidentally preserved in an entry in a copy of. the first 
edition of the Lusiad , in the possession of lord Holland. It is a note, 
vmtten by a friar, who must have been a witness of the dying scene 
of the poet , and probably received the volume which now preserves 
the sad memorial, and which recalled it to his mind, from the 
hands of the unhappy poet. — '' What a lamentable thing to see so 
great a genius so ill rewarded ! I saw him die in an hospital in 
Lisbon, without having a sheet or shroud, una sauana, to cover 
him, after having triumphed in the East Indies, and saiJed 5500 
leagues! What good ftdvice for those who weary themselves night 
and day in study without profit ! '' Camoens, when somcfidalgocooH 


Irinned that he had not performed his promise in writing some 
fcffses for him, replied, ^^ When I wrote verses I was young, had 
suftcient food, was a lover, and b^oved by many friends and by 
the ladies ^ then I felt poetical ardour : now I have no spirits , no 
peace of mind. See there my Javanese , who aslcs me for two pieces 
to porehase firing , and I have them not to give hhn." The Portu- 
guese, after his death , bestowed on the man of genius they had 
starved , the appellation of Great ! Yondel , the Dutch Shakespeare, 
afler composing a number of popular tragedies , lived in great po- 
verty, sdA died at ninety years of age -, then he had his coffin carried 
by fourteen poets, who without his genius probably partook of his 

The great Tasso was reduced to such a dilenmia, that he was obli- 
ged to borrow a crown for a we^'s subsistence. He alludes to him 
distress when entreating his cat to assist him, during the night , with, 
the lustre of her eyes — ^'NonavAidoccmdeleperiscrisfereisuoi 
'persir^ having no candle to see to write his verses ! 

When the liberality of Alphonso enabled Ariosto to build a sipall 
hOQse, it seems that it was but ill ftimished. When told that such a 
building was not fit for one who had raised so many fine palaces in 
his vrritings , he answered, that the structure of words and that of 
stones was not the same thing. " Che pojvi le pietre, e porvi le 
parole, non k U medesimo!'" At Ferrara this house is still shown. 
'^ Parva sed apta " he calls it, but exults that it was paid for with his 
own money. This was in a moment of good-humour, which he did 
not always enjoy; for in his Satires he bitteriy comfdains of the bond- 
age of dependence and poverty. Litfle thought the poet that the com- 
mune would order this smaU house to f)e purchased with their own 
fluids, tliat it might be dedicated to his immortal memory ! 

Cardinal Bentivoglio, the ornament of Italy and of literature , lan- 
guished, in his old age, in the most distressfol poverty ; and having 
sold his palace to satisfy his creditors, left nothing behind him but his 
reputation. The learned Pomponius Lsetus lived in such a state of 
poverty, that his friend Platina, who wrote the lives of the popes, and 
also a book of cookery, introduces him into the cookery book by a 
Cbk^ous observation, that ^' If Pomponius Lffitus should be robi)ed of 
a couple of eggs, he would not have wherewithal to purchase two 
other eggs. " The history of Aldovrandos is noble and pathetic ; having 
expended a large fortune in forming his collections of natural history, 
and employing the first artists in Europe , he was suffered to die in 
Qie hospital of that city, to whose fame he had eminently contributed. 

Da Ryer, a celebrated French poet, was constrained to labour with 
rapidity, and to live in the cottage of an obscure village. His book- 
setier bought his heroic verses for one hundred sols the hundred 


fines , and the smefler oneB for fifty sel^. Wluift an taitorestkig picture 
bas a contemporary given of a visit to this poor and ingenious an- 
tlior ! '^ On a fine smiier day we went to taiin,at some ^stance from 
town. He received as with |oy, talked to us of his numerous project^ 
and siiowed us several of his works. But wMt more interested us was, 
that though drea^hng k> expose to us his poverty, he contrived to 
<^er some refreshments. We sealed ourselves under a wide oak, the 
tablecloth was iqpread en the grass, his wife brought us some BMlk , 
with fresh water and brown br^, and he picked a ba^cel of cherries. 
He welcomed us with gaiety, fNit we could not take leave of this 
amiable man, now grown old, without tears, lo see him so ill treatecE 
by fortune, and to havQ nothing left but literary honour ! '' 

Yaugelas , the mosi polished writer of the French language , who 
Unvoted thirty years to his tran^ation (^Quintus Curtius, (a circum- 
stance which modern translators can have no conception of) , died 
possessed of nothing valuable bftt his precious manuscripts. This 
ingenious scholar left his corpse to the surgeons , for the benefit of 
his creditors ! 

Louis the Fourteenth honoured Racine and Boileau with a private 
monthly audience. One day, the king asked what there was new ifi^ 
the literary world ? Racine answered, thai he had seen a melancholy 
spectacle in the house of Ck)rneille, whom he found dying , deprived- 
even of a littfe broth ! The king preserved a profound silence; and 
sent the dying poet a sum of money. 

Dryden, for less than three hundred pounds, sold Tonson ten 
thousand verses, as may be seen by the agreement. 

Purchas , who , in the reign of our first James , had spent his Ufe 
in travels lo form his Relation of the World, when he gave it to the 
public , for (he reward of his labours was thrown into prison , at the 
suit of his printer. Yet this was the book which , he informs Charles 
the First in his dedication, his fattier read every night with great 
profit and satisfaction. 

The Marquis of Worcester, in a petition to parfiament, in the reign 
ofCharles II. , offered to publish the hundred processes and machines, 
enumerated in his very curious " Centenary of Inventions ,'' on con- 
dition that money should be granted to extricate hnn fh>m the Jg^- 
culties in which he had invol\^ed himself, by the prosecution of 
useful discos^eries. The petition does not appear to have been attend- 
ed to! Many of these admirable inventions were lost. The st»am 
engine and the telegraph may be traced among them.' 

It appears by the Harleian MSS. 7624 , that Rushworth, ttie au- 
thor of " Historical Collections," passed the last years of his lifo in 
gaol, where indeed he died. After the Restoration, when he present- 
ed to the king several of the privy council's books , which he had 


presenredfiromniin, be received for his only reward the thanfis of 
his majesty-. 

Rymer^ the c<dlector of the Fcedera , must have been sadiy redu- 
ced, by the following letter, I found adressed by Peter le Neve. 
Norroy, to the Earl of Oxford. 

^^ I am desired by Mr. Rymer, historiographer, to fcry before your 
lordship the circumstances of his affairs. He was (breed some years 
back Id part with all his choice printed books to sybdst himsetf ; and 
DOW, he says, he miMt be forced, forsiibsistenee, losellallhisMS. 
coUections to the best bidder, without your lordship will be pleased to 
buy them for the queen's library. They are fifty volumes , in folio , of 
public affairs, which he hath cottected , buA aat prinied. The price 
he asks is five hundred pounds.'' 

Simon Ookley, a learned student in Ori»tDd literature , addresses a 
ktler to the sme^earl, in which he painto his distresses in glowwg 
coiouis. Aft^hMng devoted his life to Asiatic researches, than very 
liwolIlmol^ he had lie mortificataoft of dating his prcftuce to his g^ 
work fipom Cambridge Castle, where he was coniaed for debt ; and , 
with an air of triumj^ feels a mari^r^s enlfausiasm in the cause ibt 
which he pmshet. 

He pubh^ed his flrgiiiwtume of the> History of the Saracens, in 
1708; and , ardently pucsoing his oriental studies , published his se* 
cond votame ten years. aAerwands without any patronage. ARuding 
la Ike eocooaageaient necessary lo bestow on youth , to remove the 
ohatades t&such studies, he eheerves, that '^ young men will har<i^ 
coaM ia Ofi the prospect of tedingleisaie , iaaprison, to transcribe 
Ihose papers for the press , which) they have coMected with indefetti- 
gable labour, and oftentimes at the expense of their rest , and all the 
other conveniences of life , for the services of the public. No , though 
I were to assure them from my own experience, ihailhai^e enjoyed 
more true liberty ,, more happy leisure , and more selid repose ^ 
in six months HERE , than in thrice ttie same number of years be^ 
fore. Ei^U is the condition of that historian who undertakes to 
write the Hues of' others, before he knows how to live /umself'^ 
— Not that I speak thus as if I thought I had any just cause lo I)e an- 
gry with the world — I did always in my judgment give the posses- 
sion of wiif^ai the preference to that of r/ic^^/" 

Spenser , the child of Fancy, languished out his life in misery. 
^^Locd Bufleigbr," says Granger, '^ who it is said preveiUed thequeen 
giving hiiB ahundredpounds, seem^ to have thought the lowest clerk 
in his office a more deserving person." Mr. Malone attempts to show 
that Spenser had a small pension \ but the poofs quei|uk>us verses 
must not be forgotten — 


** FoU litlifl knowest thon , that luut not try*d 
<' What Hell it it , in samg long to bid«.** 

To lose good days— to waste long nights -— and as he feelingly 

** To lawn^ to trooeh , to wait, to ride, to run, 
** To speed, to give, to want , to be ondonel '* 

How affecting is the death of Sydenham , who had devoted his 
life to a laborious tersion of Plato I He died in a spunging-houae, 
and it was his death which cq[>pears to have given rise to the Literary 
Fund ^' for the relief of distressed authors." 

Who will pursue toportant labours when they read these anec- 
dotes? Dr. Edmund Castell spent a great part of his Ufe in compiling 
his Lexicon iteptaghuon , on which he bestowed incredible 
pains, and expended on it no less than 12,000/. broke his constitu- 
tion , and exhausted his fortune. At length it was printed , but the 
copies remained unsold on his hands. He exhibits a curious picture 
of Uterary labour in his preface. " As for myself, I have been un- 
ceasingly occupied tor such a number of years in this mass ," Mo- 
lendino he calls them , '^ that that day seemed , as it were, a holi- 
day in which I have not laboured so much as sixteen or eighteen 
hours in these enlarging lexicons and Polyglot Bibles.'' 

Le Sage resided in a little cottage while he sui^lied the world with 
their most agreeable novels , and appears to have derived the sour- 
ces of his existence in his old age from the filial exertions of an ex- 
cellent son , who was an actor of some genius. I wish , however, that 
every man of letters could apply to himself the epitaph of this de- 
lighted yftiier : — 

Sous ce tombean git Lx Sags abattn 
Par le ciseao de la Parqne importune; 
S'U ne fnt pas ami de la fortune , 
II fat toujours ami de la Tertu. 

Many years alter this article had been written , I published ^' Ca- 
lamities of Authors ,'' confining myself to those of our own country ; 
the catalogue is very incomplete , but far too numerous. 


Imprisonment has not always dishirbed the man of letters in 
the progress of his studies , but has unquestionably greatly promo- 
ted them. 

In prison Boethius composed his worl on the Consolations of Phi- 
losophy 'y and Grotius wrote his Commentary on Saint Matthew, with 


o«lier works : the detaU of his aUolment of time to dif^ 
during tus coi^neraent , is very instructiYe. 

Bochaoan , in tlie dungeon of a monastery in Portugal , composed 
liis excellent Paraphrases of thePsahns of Datid. 

Cenfantes composed the most agreeable book in the Spanish lan- 
guage during his captivity in Barbary. 

FMa , a wdl-known law production , was written by a person 
coBteed m ttie Fleet for debt; the name of the place, though not 
that of tlie author, has thus been preserved; and another work, 
^^ Flela Minor, or the Laws of Art and Nature in knowing the bodies 
of Metals, etc. by Sir John Peltus , 1683; " who gave it thb title 
from file circumstance of his having translated it from the German 
during his confinement in this prison. 

Ixmis the TwdfQi, when Duke of Orleans, was long imprisoned 
in Oie Tower of Bourges : applying himself to his shidies, which 
be had hitherto neglected, he became, in consequence, an enUght- 
end monarch. 

Margaret, queen of Henry the Fourlh, Kingof France, confined 
in the Louvre, pursued very warmly the studies of elegant litera- 
ture, and composed a very sloIAil apology for the irregularities of 
her eondoct 

Sir Walter Raidgh's unfinished HIsUht of ttie World, which 
leaves us to regret ttiat later ages had not been celebrated by his 
doqoence , was the firuifs of eleven years of imprisonment It was 
written for the use of Prince Henry, as he and DaUington , who 
also vrrote ^^ Aph(»isms" for the same prince, have toM us; the 
prince looked over the manuscript. Of Raleigh it is observed, to 
employ the language of Hume , ^^ Tbey were struck with the exten- 
sive genius of the man, who, being educated amidst naval and 
nnlitary enterprises , had sui^Missed, in the pursuits of literature, 
evm those of ttie most recluse and sedentary lives; and they ad- 
mired his unbroken magnanimity which, at his age, and under 
his circumstances , could engage him to undertake and execute 
so great a work, m his History of the World." He was , however, 
tffisled in this great work by the learning of several eminent per- 
sons ; a circumstance which has not been noticed. 

The plan of ttie Henriade was sketched , and ttie greater pari 
composed, by Yoitafre, during his imprisonment in the Bastile; 
and ^^ the PUgrim's Progress '' of Bunyan was produced in a si- 
milar situation. 

Howd, the author of ^^ Familiar Letters, wrote the chief part 
of them , and almost all his other works, during his long confine- 
ment in the Fleet prison : he employed his- fertile pen for subsis- 
tence ; and in all his books we find much entertainment. 


Lydiai , whfle conined in the King's Bench fbr debt, wrote his 
Annotalions on the Parian Ghroolcie, wlitoh were first published by 
PrMeaux. He was the learned scholar alluded to by Johnson ; an al- 
lusion not known to Boswell and olhers. 

The learned S^en , committed to prison for his attacks on ttie 
divine right of tithes and the king's prerogative , prepared Anrf ng 
his confinement his ^^ Hffitory of Eadmer /' enriched by his notes. 

Cardinal Poiignac fbrmed the design of refiiting the argunheiils 
of the sceptics which Bayle had been renewing in his dictionary ; 
but his public occupations hindered faun. Two exiles at leng^ 
fortunatdy gave him the leisure; and the Anti^Luoretius is the 
flruit of the court disgraces of its author. 

Freret, when imprisoned in the Bastille, was permitted only 
to have Bayle for his companion. His dictionary was always be- 
fore him , and his principles were got by heart. To this circum- 
stance we owe his works, animated by all the powers of tcep- 

Sir William Davenant finished his poem of Gondibert during 
his confinement by the rebels in Carisbroke Castle. George Wi- 
ther dedicates his ^^ Shepherd's Hunting," ^^ To his friends, my 
visitants in the Marshalsea : " these ^^ eclogues " having been print- 
ed in his imprisonment. '^ The Pilgrim's progress" of Bunyan , 
was performed in prison. 

De Foe, confined in Newgate for a political pamphlet, began 
his ^^ Review;" a periodical papw, which was extended to nine 
thick volumes hi quarto, and it has been supposed served as the 
model of the cdefffated papers of Stede. 

Wicquefort's curious work on ^^ Ambassadors " is dated hrom 
his prison , where he had been confined for state affairs. He soften- 
ed the rigour of those heavy hours'by several historical works. 

One of the most interesting iac\s of this kind is the fate of an 
Italian scholar, of the name of Maggi. Eariy addicted to the study 
of the sciences , and particularly to the mathematics , and mili- 
tary architecture , he successfully defended Famagusta , besieged by 
the Turks , by inventing machines which destroyed their vrfNte. 
When that city was taken in 1571 , they pillaged his library and 
carried him away in chains. Now a slave , after his daily labouis 
he amused a great part of his nights by literary compositions ; 
De TinUnnabuUs , on Bells , a treatise still read by the curious , 
was actually composed by him when a slave in Turkey, without 
any other resource than the erudition of his owa memory, and 
the genius of which adversity could not deprive him. 



Among the Jesuits it was a standing nde of the order, that 
afler sn api^cation k) stady f<M* two hours, the mind of the student 
should be unbent by some relaxation, however trifling. When Pe- 
Unas was emfdoyed in his Dogmata Theologica, a work of the 
B06t profound and entensire erudition , the great recreation of ttie 
learned Cather was at the end of every second hour, to twirl his 
cliair for five minutes* AAer protracted studies Spinosa would mix 
wilb the Camily^[Mrty where he lodged, and join in the most trivial 
cxKiversaiioBB , of unbend his mind by setting spiders to fight 
each other ; he observed ttieir combats with so much interest , that 
he was often seixed with immoderate fits of laught^. A continuity 
of labour deadens the soul, observes Seneca, in closinf his treatise 
OB '' The Tranquillity of the Soul,'' and the mind must unbend 
itself by certain amusements. Socrates did not blush to play with 
children ; Gato, over his bottle , found an alleviation from the fa- 
tigues of government^ a circumstance, Seneca says in his man- 
ner, which rather gives honour to this defect , than the defect disho- 
nours Cata» Some men of letters portioned out their day between 
n^Mse and labour. Asinius PoUio would not suffer any business to 
occupy him beyond a stated hour ; after that time he would not al- 
low any letter to be opened , that his hours of recreation might not 
be interrupted by unforeseen labours. In the senate , after the tenth 
hour, it was not allowed to make any new motion. 

Tycho Brahe diverted himself with polishing glasses for all kinds 
of spectacles, and making mathematical instruments; an employ- 
meot loo dosky connected with his studies to be deemed an amuse- 

D'AndiBy, the translator of Josephus, afler seven or eight {lours 
of study every day, amused himself in cultivating trees ; Barclay, 
the author of the Argenis, in his leisure hours was a florist ; Balzac 
amused himself with a collection of crayon portraits ; Peiresc found 
his amusement amongst his medals and antiquarian curiosities ; the 
Abb^ de Marolles with his prints \ and Politian in singing airs to his 
hile. Descartes passed his afternoons in the conversation of a few 
friends, and in cultivating a litUe garden; in the morning, occu- 
pied by file system of the world , he relaxed his profound specula^ 
tiotts by rearing delicate flowers. 

Conrad ab UCfenbach, a learned German, recreated his mind, 
afler severe studies, with a collection of prints of eminent persons , 
methodically arranged; he retained (his ardour of the Grangerite 
to his last days. 


Rohault wandered fh)in shop to shop to observe the mechanics 
labour ; Count Caylus passed his mornings in the studios of artists , 
and his evenings in writing his numerous works on art. This was the 
true life of an amateur. 

Granville Sharp , amidst the severity of his studies , found a socud 
relaxation in the amusement of a barge on the Thames , which was 
well known to the circle of his fHends ; there , was festive hospitality 
with musical delight. It was resorted to by men of the most eminent 
talents and rank. His little voyages to Putney, to Rew, and to Rich- 
mond, and the literary intercourse they produced, were singularly 
happy ones. ^^ The history of his amusements cannot be told without 
adding to the dignity of his character, " observes Mr. Prince Hoare, 
in the very curious life of this great philanthropist. 

Some hure found amusement in composing treatises on odd sub- 
jects. Seneca wrote a burlesque narrative of Qaudian's death. Pierius 
Yalerianus has written an eulogium on beards ^ and we have had a 
learned one recently, with due gravity and pleasantry, entitled 
" Eloge des Perruques." 

Holstein has written an eulogium on the North Wind-, Heinsius , 
on ^^ the Ass; '^ Menage , ^^ the Transmigration of the Parasiticsd 
Pedant to a Parrot ; " and also the '* Petition of the Dictionaries. " 

Erasmus composed , to amuse himself when travelling in a post- 
chaise, his panegyric on Moria, or Folly 5 which, authorised by 
the pun , he dedicated to Sir Thomas More. 

Sallengre, who would amuse himself like Erasmus, wrote, in 
imitation of his work , a panegyric on Ebriety. He says , that he is 
willing to be thought as drunken a man as Erasmus was a foolish 
one. Synesius composed a Greek panegyric on Baldness. These 
burlesques were brought into great vogue by Erasmus's Morus 

It seems , Johnson observes in his life of Sir Thomas Browne , ta 
have i>een in all ages the pride of art to show how it could exalt the 
low and amplify the little. To ttds ambition perhaps we owe the 
Frogs of Homer*, the Gnat and the Bees of Virgil; the Butterfly of 
Spenser -, the Shadow of Wowerus ; and the Quincunx of Browne. 

Cardinal de Richelieu , amongst all his great occupations , found a 
recreation in violent exercises ; and he was once discovered jumping 
with his servant , to try who could reach the highest side of a wall. 
De Grammont , oi>serving the cardinal to be jealous of his powers , 
offered to jump with him^ and, in the true spirit of a courtier, 
haying made some efforts which nearly reached the cardinal's , con- 
'fessed the cardinal surpassed him. This was jumping like a pc^iti- 
cian -, and by this means he is said to have ingratiated himself with 
the minisler. 


The great Samuel Clarice was fond of robust exercise; and this 
profound logician has been found leaping over tables and chairs. 
Once perc^Ying a pedantic fellow, he said , ^^ Now we must desist , 
for a fool is coming in ! '' 

An eminent Frendi lawyer, confined by his business to a Parisian 
life, aroused himself with coltecting fh>m the classics all the pas- 
sages which relate to a coontry life. The collection was published 
ailerhis death. 

Contemplative men seem to be ibnd of amusements which accord 
with their habits. The thoughtAil game of chess , and the tran- 
quil delight of angling, hayebeen fayourite recreations with the 
stodioos. Paley had himself painted with a rod and line in his hand ; 
a strange characteristic for the author^of *' Natural Theology." Sir 
Henry Wotton called angling '^ idle time*not idly spent : " we may 
si^ipose Oiat his meditations and his amusements were carried on at 
the same moment. 

The anuisements of the great d'Aguesseau , chancellor of France , 
consisted in an interchange of studies^ his relaxations were all the 
farfeties of HCerature. ^^ Le changement d'^tude est mon seul d^las-^ 
sement , ^ md this great man ^ and ^^ in the age of the passions , his 
only pa^ion was study." 

Ssneca has observed on amusements proper for literary men , that, 
in ragard to robust exercises, it is not decent to see a man of letters 
exult in the strength of his arm, or the breadth of his back ! Such 
amusemmts dimhiish the activity of the mind. Too much fatigue 
exhausts the animal spirits, as too much food blunts the finer facul- 
ties : but elsewhere he allows his philosopher an occasional slight 
inebriation ; an amusement which was very prevalent among our 
poets formeriy, when ihej exclaimed , 

Fetch me Ben Jonson's scull , and fiU't vltk sack , 
Rich as the sain6 he, drank, when the whole pack 
Of joll J sisters pledged , and did agree 
It was no sin to be as dmnk as he ! 

Seneca concludes admirably, ^^ whatever be the amusements you 
choose, return not slowly from those of the body to the mind ^ exer- 
cise the latter night and day. The mind is nourished at a cheap rate ; 
Ddiher cold nor heat , nor age itself , can interrupt this exercise -, give 
therefore all your cares to a possession which ameliorates even in its 
old age!" 

An ingenious writer has observed , that " a garden just accommo- 
dates itself to the perambulations of a scholar, who would perhaps 
ralher wish his walks abridged than extended." There is a good 
characteristic account of the mode in which the Literati may lake 


exercise , in Pope's letters. " I , Mke a poor squirrel , am cotttimiany 
in moiion indeed , but ii is but a cage of three foot •, my little excur- 
sions are like Chose of a shopkeeper, who walks efvery day a mile or 
two before his own door, but minds his business afl the while/' A 
turn or two in a garden will often tery happily close a fine period , 
maturean unripenecl thought , and raise up fresh associations , when- 
ever the mind like ttie body becomes rigid by presenrtng the same 
posture. Buffon often quitted the old tower. he studied in, which 
was placed in (he midst of his garden , for a walk in it ^elyn loved 
^^ !>ooks and a garden.'' 


With the ancients , it was undoubtedly a custom to pbiee (he por- 
traits of authors before their works. Martial's 186th epigram of h» 
fourteenth book is a mere play on words, concerning a litSe Tolume 
containing the works of YirgU , and w^ch had his portrait prefixed 
to it. The volume and the characters most h^ve been very dim^ 

** Quam hrevis immensum eepit membranm Maron^ ! 
** Ipsius vultus prima tabelia gerit" 


Martial is not the only writer who takes notice of (he ancientsinre* 
fixing porirails to the works of authors. Seneca , In his ninih chapter 
on the Tranquillity of the Soul , complains of many of the hixurious 
great, who , like so many of our own collectors , possessed litoiHe^ 
as they did their estates and equipages. ^^ It is melancholy to observe 
how the portraits of men of genius, and the works of their divine 
intelligence, are used only as the luxury and the ornaments of 

Pliny has nearly the same observation , Lib. xxxy, cap. 2. He 
remarks, ttiat (he custom was rather modern in his time \ and attri- 
butes to Asinius Pollio the honour x>f having introduced it into Rome. 
^^ In consecrating a library with the portraits of our iUustriouft 
authors, he has formed, if I may so express myself, a republic of the 
tntellectuM powers of men." To ttie richness of book-treasures , 
Asinius Pollio had associated a new source of pleasure, in placing 
file statues of their authors^ amidst them, inspiring the minds of tfee 
spectators even by their eyes. 

A taste for collecting portraits, or bus(s , was warmly pursued in 
the happier periods of Rome -, for the celebrated Afticus, in a work 
he pubfished of illustrious Romans , made it more delightfrd , by or- 
namenting it with the portraits of those great men ; and the learned 
Yarro, in his biography of Seven Hundred celebrated Men, by giving 


thcrworU ttieir true featares and their phyriogDomy in some man- 
ner^, aliquo moda imaginibus is Pliny's expression , showed that 
ef€o their persons should not entirely be annihilated ^ they indeed , 
adds Pliny, form a speetacle winch the gods themsdres might con- 
template^ for if the gods sent those heroes to the earth, it is Yarro 
vho seeiired flieir immortality, and has so multiplied and distributed 
them in all places , that we laay carry them about us, place them 
whererer we choose^ and flx our eyes on them with perpetual ,ad- 
minitiofi. A spectacle that e\ery day becomes more Taried and inte- 
resdiig , as new heroes appear, and as works of this kind are spread 

Bat as printing was unknown to the ancients (diough stamping 
an impression was daily practised, and, in fistct , they possessed 
Oie art of ininting without being aware of it) , how were these por- 
tnAs oTTant^ so easily pn^galed ? If copied with a pei\, theh* cor- 
reelness was in some danger, md their diffusion must haye been yery 
<»iiflned and stow ; perhaps they were outlines. This passage of 
Pliny excites curiosity difficult lo satisfy *, I have in vain inquired of 
several sdMriars, particularly ofthe late Grecian, Dr. Bumey. 

Amongst the various advantages which attend a collection ofthe 
portraits of illustrious characters , Oidys observes, that they not only 
serve as matters of entertainment and curiosity, and preserve the 
dfferent modes or habits of the fashions of the time , but become 
of infinite importance, by settling our floating ideas upon the true 
features of femous persons : they fix the chronological particulars of 
their fiirfh , age , death , sometimes with short characters of them, be- 
sides Ibe naanes of painter, de^gner, and engraver. It is thus a single 
print, by ftie hand of a ^lAil artist ,'may become a varied banquet. To 
Kfate Granger adds, that in a collection of engraved portraits , the 
contenls of many gtdleries are reduced into the narrow compass of 
a few Tctemes; and flie portndts of eminent persons, whodistin- 
goislied themselves for a long succession of ages, may be turned 
over in a few hours. 

"Another advantage," Granger continues, ** attending such an 
assemMage is, ttiat the methodical arrangement has a surprising 
eitet npon the memory. We see the cdebrated contemporaries of 
every age idmost at one view; and the mind is insensibly led to 
Qie bistory of that period. I may add to these, an important cir- 
ramslance , which te , the power that such a collection will have in 
awakening genius. A skilful preceptor will presently perceive the 
true bent of the temper of his pupil , by his being struck with a 
BM^e or a Boyle, a Hyde or a Milton." 

A circiMQStance m the life of Cicero confirms this observation. At- 
ticitt had a ga&ery adorned irith the images or portraits of the great 


men of Rome , under each of \^hich, he had seyerally described their 
principal acts and honours , in a few concise verses of his own com- 
position. It was by the contemplation of two oT these portraits (Old 
Brutus and a venerable relative in one picture) that Qcero seems 
to have incited Brutus, by the example of these his great ancestors, 
to dissolve the tyranny of GsBsar. General Fairfax msRle a collectioB 
of engraved portraits of warriors. A story much in favour of por- 
trait-coUectois is that of the Athenian courtesan, who, in the midst 
of a riotous banquet with her lovers , accidentally casting her eyes 
on the portrait of a philosopher that hung opposite to her seat , the 
happy character of temperance and virtue struck her with so lively 
an image of her own unworthiness , that she instantly quitted the 
room , and retreated for ever from the scene of debauchery. The 
Orientalists have felt the same charm in their pictured memorials^ 
for " the imperial Akber," says Mr. Forbes, in his Oriental Me- 
mdrs, ^^ employed artists to make portraits of all the principal om- 
rahs and ofl^rs in his court;'' they were bound together in a tluck 
volume , wherein , as the Ayeen Akbery or the Institutes of Akber 
expresses it , ^^ The Past are kept in lively remepibrance *, and the 
Present are insured immortality.'' 

Leonard Aretin , when young and in prison, found a portrait oC 
Petrarch , on which his eyes were perpetually fixed ; and this sort of 
contemplation inflamed the desire of imitating this great man. BidToi^ 
hung the portrait of Newton before his wnting-table. 

On this subject, Tacitus sublimely expresses himself at the close of 
his admired biography of Agricola : ^^ I do not mean to censure the 
custom of preserving in brass or marble the shape and stature of emi- 
nent men ; but busts and statues , like their originals, are frail and pe- 
rishable. The soul is formed of finer elements , its inward form is not 
to be expressed by the hand of ad artist with unconscious matter ; our 
manners and our morals may in some degree trace the resemblance. 
All of Agricola that gained our love and r^sed our admiration still 
subsists , and ever will subsist , preserved in the minds of men , the 
register of ages and the records of fame." 

What is more agreeable to the curiosity of the mind and the eye 
than the portraits of great characters? An old philosopher, whom 
Marville invited to see a collection of landscapes by a celebrated 
artist, replied, " landscapes I prefer seeing in the country itself, but 
I am fond of contemplating the pictures of illustrious men." This 
opinion has some truth : Lord Orford preferred an interesting por- 
trait to either landscape or historical painting. ^^A landscape, howe- 
ver excellent in ite distributions of wood , and water, and buildings , 
leaves not one trace in the memory ^ historical painting is perpetually 
false in a variety of ways, in the costume, the grouping, the por- 


fnife, and is not^Dg more than fabulous painting ; but a real por- 
trait s truth itself, and calls up so many collateral ideas as to fill an 
ioldiigeat mind more than any other species/' 

ManriUc justly reprehends the f^tidious fbelings of those ingenious 
men who have resisted the solicitations of the artist, to sit for their 
portraits. In them it is sometimes as much pride as It is yanity in 
Aose who are less difficult in this respect. Of Gray, Fielding, and 
Akenside, w» have no heads for which they sat-, a circumstance re- 
gretted by thdr admirers , and by physiognomists. 

To an arranged collection of PoRTRAiTS,]we owe several interest- 
iBg works. Granger's justly esteemed volumes originated in such a 
coUeetion. Perraull's Eloges of " ttie illusttious men of the seven- 
teenth century" were drawn up to accompany the engraved portraits 
of the most celebrated characters of the age , which a fervent lover of 
flie fine arts and literature had.had engraved as an elegant tribute to 
thelkme of those great men. They are confined to his nation, as 
Granger's to ours. The parent of this race of books may perhaps be 
tiie Eulogiums of Paulus Jovius, which originated in a beautiful 
Cabinet, whose situation he has described with all its amenity. 

Panlus Jovius bad a country house, in an insufar situation , of a 
most romantic aspect. Built on the ruins of the villa of Pliny, in his 
time the foundations were still to be traced. When the surrounding 
lidLe was calm , in its lucid bosom were still viewed sculptured mar- 
bles, the trunks of columns, and the fragments of those pyramids 
iliich bad o»ce adorned the residence of the friend of Trajan. Jovius 
was an enthusiast of liteiary leisure •, an historian , with the imagi- 
aafion of a poet ; a christian prelate nourished on the sweet fictions 
of pagan mythology. His pen colours like a pencil. He paints raplur- 
oQsIf ills gardens bathed by the waters of the lake , the shade and 
freshness of his woods , his green hills , his sparkling fountains , the 
deepsileice, and the calm of solitude. He describes a statue raised 
in his gardens to Nature ; in his hall an Apollo presided with his 
lyre, and the Muses with their attributes^ his library was guarded 
by Mercury, and an apartment devoted to the three Graces was 
embellished by Doric columns, and paintings of the most pleasing 
kind. Such was the interior ! Without, the pure and transparent lake 
spread its broad mirror, or rolled its voluminous windings, by 
banks richly covered with olives and laurels ; and in the distance , 
lowns, promontories , hills rteing in an amphitheatre bluslnng with 
^nes , and the elevations of the Alps covered with woods and pastu- 
rage and sprinkled with herds and flocks. 

In the centre of this enchanting habitation stood the Cabinet, 
vberc Paulus Jovius had collected , at great cost, the Portraits of 
celebrated men of the fourteenth and two succeeding centuries. The 


daily view of them animated his mtod to compose their eulogiuins. 
These are still eurious, both for the facts they preserve, and Ibe 
happy conciseness with which Jovius delineates a character. He had 
collected these portraits as others form a collection of natural history ; 
and he pursued in their characters what others do in their experim^itB. 
One cautiM in collecting portraits must not be forgotlen : it res- 
pects their authenticity. We have too many supposititious heads, and 
ideal personages. Conrad ab Uffenbach , who seems to. have been the 
first collector who projected a methodical arrangement , condemned 
those spurious portraits which were fit only for the amusements or 
children. The painter does not always give a correci likeness , or fbe 
engraver misses it in his copy* Goldsmith was a short thick man , 
with wan features and a vulgar appearance , but looks tall and 
fashionable in a bag-wig. Bayle's portrait does not resemble him^ as 
one of his friends writes. Rousseau in his Monlero cap , is in the same 
predicament. Winkelman's portrait does not preserve the striking 
physiognomy of the man , and hi the last edition a new one is substi- 
tuted. The faithful Yertue refused to engrave (br Houbraken's sel, 
because they did not authenticate their originals ^ and some of these 
are spurious , as that of Ben Jonson , Sir Edward Coke , and others. 
Busts are not so liable to these accidents. It is to be regretted thai 
men of genius have not been carefiil to transmit their own portraits 
to their admirers ^ it forms a part of their character \ a false delicacy 
has interfered. Erasmus did not like to have his own diminuti vepersoo 
sent down to posterity , but Holbein was always affectionately paint- 
ing his friend. Montc^ieu once sate to Dassier the medallist , after 
repeated denials , won over by the ingenious argument of the artkt ; 
^' Do you not think/' said Dassier, ^^ that there is as much pride in 
refusing my offer as in accepting it ? '' 


The literary treasures of antiquity haye suffered fh>m the malice 
of Men, as well as that of Time. It is remarkable that conquerors , in 
the moment of victory, or in Che unsparing devastation of their rage , 
have not been satisfied with destroying men, but have even carried 
their vengeance to books. 

The Persians, from hatred of the religion of the Phoenicians and 
the Egyptians , destroyed their books , of which Eusebius notices a 
great number. A Grecian library at Gnidus was burnt by the sect of 
Hippocrates , because the Gnidians refused to follow the doctrines of 
their master. If the followers of Hippocrates formed the minority, was 
it not very unorthodox in the Gnidians to prefer taking physic their 
own way ? But Faction has often annihilated books. 

DEI^TRlJCilOKi OF BdQ&S. 30 

HicAomaaB&ur&i the books of the fcvs, of tl^BQbrWiaBft, and 
ttw plulo6ophdr8 ; Che Jews burnt the books of the GhristiaDsand the 
ftipDS; aadtbe Qirisltaas bwrDt the books of the Pagans, and the 
iews. The greiAer part of the books of Origeo, and other beretics 
i^iseoBliBiullr burnt by the orthod(^ party. Gibbon pathetically 
describes the emp^ library of Alexandria , aBer the Christians ha4 
tolrefed it. '^Tbe TiAMUe library of Alexandria was pillaged or 
totroyed^ and jowt twenty years afterwards the appearance of the 
emp(jr sheWes esdted the li^gret aad indignation of every spectator, 
whose mind was not totally darkened by religious prejudice. The 
compositions of ancient gauus , so many pf which h^ve irretrievably 
perished , might sQrely .have been excq^ed from the wreck of idola* 
Iqr, for the amasement and instruction of succeeding ages^ and 
either the leal or avarice of the archbishop nugtfTliaYe beeii sali^ited 
wilh the richest spoito which weretherewardsof his victory. '' 

lie pathetic naxrative of Nioetas Ghoniatesof the ravages com- * ^^ 
nittedby the OurisUans of the thirteenth century in Constantinople 
wasteadaleoSy suQpressed in the printed editions. It has been pre- 
Krvedb]rDr. Qarke, who observes, that the Turks have committed 
fever iiyories to (he«i|M'ks of art than the barbarous Christians of 
ttatage. , . . . , 

The reaifing of the JewiA Tahnud has been forbidden by various 
edicts , of the Emperor Jui^iniao, of many of the French and Spanish 
lungs, and juunbers of Pop^. All the cq^ were ordered Uy be 
iHUBt: the intrepid perseverance of (he Jews* themselves preserved 
that work from annttiflation. In 1569 twelve thousand copies were 
brown into ttie flames at Crenuma. John Reuchlin interfered to stop 
^ universal destnjction of Talmuds^ for which be became hated 
by thenionks , and condemned ^by^ the Elector of Mentz, but appeal- 
ing to Rmne , the prosecution wa^ stopped -, and the traditions of the 
Jews were considered as not necessary to be destroyed. y 

GoDquerors at first destroy with (he rashest zeal the national | v^U^^^kM 
reec^ of the conquered people; hence it is that the Irish deplore i ^i/^^m^ 
the irreparaMe losses of their most ancient national memorials , { p |^t 
vhich their invaders have been too successful in annihilating. The' /^ 
same event occurred in the conquest of Mexico \ and the interesting ^ ' ' . 
Wst»y of the New World must ever remain imperfect, inconse- • 
Vence of the unfortunate success of the first Missionaries. Clavi- ^ : ^mV .,. 
9^0, the most authentic historian of Mexico , continually laments 
Qiis affecting loss. Every thing in that country had been painted , 
iod painters abounded there , as scribes in Eur6pe. The first mis- 
mttnes , suspicious that superstition was mixed with all their 
P^iAtiBgs, atta^ed the cUef school of ihese artists , and collecting , 
u> the marketplace , a little mountain of these precious records , 

' J 


Ibey set fire to* i(, and buried in the ashes the memory of Qiasy 
Interesting events. Afterwards , senile of their error, they tried to 
collect information ft-om the mouths of the Indians ; but the Indians 
were indignantly iitent : when they attempted to collect the remadns 
of these painted histories, the patriotic Mei^ican usually buried in 
concealment the fragmentary records of his country. 

The story of the Caliph Omar proclaiming throughout the Idngilom, 
at the taking of Alexandria , that the Koran contained etery thing 
which was useful to believe and to kMw, and therefore he com- 
manded that all the books in the Alexandrian library should be 
distribute to the masters of the bate , amounting to 4*000 ^ to be 
^ used in heating their stoves during a 'perv»d of six months , mo- 

ViA. dem paradox would attempt to den y. But the tale would not bo 
km^^tTi singular even were it true : it perfectly suits the character of a 
^^^ ^ bigot , a barbarian , land a blockhead. A sindlar event happened in 
Persia. When Abdooleh , who in the third century of the Moham- 
medan era governed Khorassan , was presented at Nishapoor wiQi 
a MS. which was shown as a literary curiosity, he askeid the title of 
it — ^it was the tale of Wamick and Oozra, composed by the great 
poet Noshirwan. On this Abdoolah observed, that those oLbis 
country and faith had nottiing to do with any other book than the 
Koran ^ and that the composition of an idolater.must be detestable ! 
All Persian MSS. found within the circle af his government were to 
be burned. Much of the most ancient poetry of the Persians perished 
by this fanatical edict. 

When Buda was taked by the Turks, a Cardinal offered a vast 

sum to redeem the great library fo\inded by Matthew Corvini , a 

literary monarch of Hungary -, it was rich In Greek and Hebrew 

lore , and the classics of antiquity. Thirty amanuenses had i)een ep- 

ployed in copying MSS. and illuminating them by the finest art. 

^ ^ ; , The. Barbarians destroyed nu)st of the books in tearing away their 

' * I splendid covers and their silver bosses •, an Hungarian soldier picked 

• *** ' ^ \ up a book as a prize : it proved to be the Ethiopics of Heliodorus , 

2 y i A ; from which the first edition was printed in 1534. 

Ai^^^^//{^ Cardinal Ximenes seems to have retaliated a little on the Saracens ; 

^ for at the taking of Granada, he condemned to the flames five 

'^^* thousand Korans. 

KY**I^ The following anecdote respecting a Spanish missal , called St. 
/IhiT Isidore's , is not incurious ; hard fighting saved it from destruction. 
' In the Moorish wars, all these missals had been destroyed excepting 

those in the city of Toledo. There in six churches the Christians 
were allowed the free exercise of their religion. When the Moors 
were expelled several centuries afterwards from Toledo , Alphonsus 
the Sixth ordered the Roman missal to be used in those churches ; 


bat (he people of Toledo insisted on hating their own , as reyised 
by St Isidore. It seemed to them ttiat Alphonsus was more tyran- 
iifcal tttan the Turks. The contest between the Roman and (he 
Toletan missals came to that height , that at leng(h it was determi- 
ned to decide their fate by single combat ; the champion of the 
Toletan missal feUed by one blow the knight of the Roman missal, 
iyphonsos still consid^ed this battle as merely the effect of the 
h^nry arm of the doughty Toletan , and ordered to be pro- 
clanied, and a great fire to be prepared-, into which, after tiis 
majesty and the people had joined in prayer for heavenly assistance 
In this ordeal , both the rivals (not the men , tmt the missals) , were 
thrown into the flames — again St. Isidore's missal triumphed , and 
this iron bock, was then allowed to be orthodox by Alphonsus , and 
the good people of Toledo were allowed to say their prayers as they 
had long been used to do. However^ the c<^es of this missid at 
length became very scarce^ for now, when no one oppesed the reading 
of Si. Isidore's missal , none cared to use it. Cardinal ^Ximenes 
found it so difficult to obtain a copy that he printed a large impres- 
stoo , and built a chapel , consecrated to St. Isidore , that this service 
might be daily chanted as it had been by the ancient Christians. 

gation of the nftnks. They appear -sometimes to have mutilated 
them, for passages have not oome down to us, which once evidently 
exBted ; and occasionally their interpolations and other forgeries 
formed a destruction in a new shupe , by additions to the originals. 
They were indefatigable in erasing the best works of the most emi- 
nent Gre^ and Latin authors, in order to transcribe their ridiculous 
lives of saints on the obliterated vellum. One of the books of Livy is 
In the Vatican most painfldly defaced by some pious father for the 
purpose of writing on it some missal or psalter, and there have 
been recently others discovered in the same stale. Inflamed with (he 
btindest zeal against every thing pagan , Pope Gregory YII. ordered 
that the library of .the Palatine Apollo , a treasury of literature 
formed by successive emperors , should be committed to the flames! 
He issued this order under Ihe notion of confining the attention of 
the clergy to the holy scriptures ! From that time all ancient learning 
which was not sanctioned by the authority of the church has been 
emphaticaUy distinguished as profane — in opposition to sacred, 
niis pope is said to have burnt the works of Yarro , the learned 
Roman , that Saint Austin should escape flrom the charge of Rja- 
glarism , being deeply indebted to Yarro for much of his great work ^ 
"the City of God." 

The Jesuits , isenl by the Emperor Ferdinand to proscribe Luthc- 
ranism from Bohraiii , convertedthat flourishing kingdom compara*' 


^ 0£STRUCTi(»( OF fiOCMIfi. 

4f vtiy iDlo a deiert Gonviiwed tM an e^g|||Me(l people ceidd never 
be toDg sMteenrieQt to a lyraal , ftoej struck one fetal blow at the 
natiomd Uterature : every book ttiey eondemned was destroyed , evM 
those of antiquity ; the aimals of the nation were forbidden to be read, 
and writers were not pemritted even to compose 09 subjects of Bo- 
hemian literature. The mother^ongue was t^M out as a mark of 
vulgar obscurity, and domiciliary visits weUd madd^or the'purpose 
of inspecting the libraries of the Bohemians. With their books and 
their language they |ost4heir national character and their indepen- 

The destruction of libraries in the reign of Henry VIII. at the dis*- 
sohition of the monasteries is wept over by John Bale. Those wha 
purchased the religious houses lo^ the libraries as part of the booty, 
with which they scoinred Ui^ fiiraiture , or sold the books as waste 
paper, or sent them abroad in sliq>4oc4s ^ foreign bookbinders. 

The fear of destruction induced many tpbide manuscripts under 
ground, and in old walla. At the Reformation popular rage exhaiisted 
itself on illuminated books , or MSS. that had red letters in the title- 
page : any work that was decorated wof sure tp be thrown into the 
flames asa superstiti6usone. Red leM^rs tndhembellished figures were 
sure marks of being papistical and diabolical. We still find such vo- 
. ^ lumes mutilated of their gilt lexers and elegant i^|^ials. Many have 

I ^if . been found underground, having been forgotten ^ what escaped the 
^^ flames were obUt^rated by the damp : such is the dq^rable fate of 

i)^i\ books during a persecution ! 

The Puritans burned every thing they found which bore the ves* 
tige of popish origin. We have on regord many curious accounts oC 
their pious depredations , of their maiming images and erasing pic- 
tures. The heroic expeditions of one Dowsing are journalised by him- 
self : a fonatical Quixote, to whose intrepid arm many of our noseless 
saints , scidptured on our cathedral^ , owe their nusfortunes. 

The following are some details from the diary of this redoubtable 
Goth , during his r»ge for reform«6on. His entries are exinressed 
with a laconic conciseness , and it would seem with a little dry hu- 
mour. '^ At Sanbuiy, we brake down ten mighty great ang^ in 
l^lass. At Barham , brake down the twelve apostles in the chancel , 
and six superstitious pictures more there ^ and eight in the church , 
one a Iamb with a cross ( + ) on the back *, and digged down the steps 
and took up four superstitjk>us inscriptions in brass ,'' etc. ^^ Lady 
Bnice's house , the chapel , a picture of God ttie Father, of the Tn- 
' ^ity , of Christ , the Holy Ghost , and the doven tongues , which we 
gave orders to take down , and the lady promised to do it.'' At ano^ 
ther place they ^^ brake six hundred superstitious* pictures , eight 
H(riy Ghosts, and three of the Sop/' And in this manner he and his 


4e^ti» ficmired <»ie luiadred avd fifty pari^ 
roitfly coDjectured , tiiat from ibis ruthless devastator (Mriginaled the 
pbrase to gU^e <i Ihwsmg. Bishop Hall sav^ the windows of hig 
chapel at Norwich from destruction , by taking out the beads of the 
figures^ and this.aceoants for the many JOacea mi ^flmrch windows 
which we see sun^lied by white glass. 

In the various ctyil wars in our country, nunaroui libraries have 
suffered/K>th in MSS. «nd printed books. " I dare nuuntain ,'' says 
FuU^, ^ that the wars bet^i;^ York and Lancast^^ whidi lasted 
aity yearg, were not so destructive as our modem wars in six years.?' 
He alhides to the parliamentary feuds in the reign of Oiaries I. ^' For 
during the former their di^erences agreed in the same religion^ 
impressing .them with reverence to all aUoi^ munimenis ^ whiiat 
our €U/il wars, founded injaction a^d variefy of pretended reli- 
gions, exposed all naked church records a prey to armed violence ; 
asad vacuum , which wiU be sensible in our English historie.'" 

When it was proposed to the great Gustavus of Sweden to destroy 
(he palace of the Dukes of BaVaria^ihat hero nobly refused observing, 
^^ Let us not copy the example of our unlettered ancestors , who , by 
waging War against every production of genius , have rendered the 
name of Goth universally proverbial of the rudest state of bar* 

Even the civilisation of the eighteenth centmry could not preserve 
from the destiuctive fury of an*infturialed mob , in the most polished 
city of £urope , the valuable MSS. df the great Eaii Mansfield, which 
were madly consigned tor the fiamesdnring the riots o(;i780 \ a^ thos^ 
of Dr. Priestley were conaumed by the mob at Birmingham. 

In the year 1599*, the hall.of the stationers underw^it as great a 
pqrgation as vas carried on in Don Quixote's library. Warton gives a 
list of the best writers whoArere ordered for immediate conOagralieB 
fay the prelates Whitgift and Bancroft , urged by the puritanic and 
€(dvinistic fiictiona. Like thieves and outlaiws , they were ordered to 
betaken wheresoe\^er they may be found. — " It was also decreed 
that no satires or epigrams should be printed for the thture. No plays, 
verejto be printed without the inspection and permission of the arch- 
bishop of Canterbury and the bidiiop of London ; nor any English 
^istoryes, I suppose novels and romances , without the sanction of 
the privy council. Any pieces of this nature , unlicensed , or now ait 
large and wandering abroad , were to be diUgently sought, recalled ^ 
and delivered over to the ecclestastioal arm at London-house. 

At a later period, and by an opposite party, among other extrava- 
gant motions made in ttieparliament, one was to destroy all the re- 
cords made in the Tower, and to settle the nation on a new founda- 
tion. The very same principle was attempted to be acted on in ihe 


French reyohition by the Inie " sans-culoltes.'' Witti us Sir Matthew 
Hale showed the weakness of the proposal , and while he drew ob his 
side ^' aU sober persons, stopped even the moaths or the frantic 
people themsdves.'' 

To descend to Ihe losses incurred by individuds , whose names 
ought to have served as an amulet to charm away, the demons of li- 
terary destruction. One of the most interesting is Ihe fate of AnstoUe's 
library ; he who by a Greek term was first sduted as a coUector of 
iH>oks ! His works have come down to us accidentally, but not without 
irreparable injuries, and with no slight suspicion respecting their au- 
thenticity. The «(ory ds told by Strabo, in his thirte^nth book. The 
books of ^sloUe came from his schcdar Theophrastus to Neleus , 
whose posterity, an illilerate race, keptihem locked up without 
using them, buried in the ea^th! Apellion^^a curious collector, pur- 
chased them , but finding the MSS. injured by age and moisture , 
conjecturally supplied their deficiencies. It is impossible to know 
how far Apellion has corrupted and obscured the text. But the mis- 
chief did not end here *, when.SyHa at the taking of Attiens brought 
them to Rome , he consigned them to the care of Tyrannio, a gram- 
marian , who employed scribes to copy them^ be suffered them to 
pass through his hands without correction , and took great ^eedoms 
with them ^ the words'of Slfabo are strong : ^^Ibique Tyrannionem 
grammalicum lis usum atque (ut fama est) intercidisse^ aut inuer- 
tisse.'' He gives it indeed as a report; but the fact seems confirmed 
by the statei in which we find these works : Averroes declared that he 
read Aristotle forty times over before he succeeded in perfectly un- 
derstanding him -, he pretends he did at (he one and fortieth time ! 
And to prove tbis has published five folios of commentary. 

We have lost much valuable literature'by the illiterate or malignant 
descendants of learned and ingeniovis persons. Many of Lady Mary 
WorUey Montagu's letters have been destroyed, I am informed , by 
her mother, who did not approve that she should disgrace her family 
by adding to it literary honours ; and a few of her best letters , re- 
cently published , were found buried in an (M D^nily chest. It 
would have mortified her ladyship's mother, to have heard that her 
daughter was the Scvign6 of Britain. 

At the death of the learned Peiresc , a chamber in his house filled 
with letters from the most eminent scholars of the age was discover- 
ed : the learned in Europe had addressed Peiresc in their difiicul- 
lies , who was hence called the " Avocat g^q^ral " of the republic of 
letters. Such was the disposition of his niece , that although repeat- 
edly entreated to permit them to be published , she preferred to re- 
gale herself occasionally with burning these learned epistles to save 
the expense of fire-wood ! 


Tbe MSS. of Leonardo da Vinci have equally soffered flrom his re- 
latives. 'When a curious collector discovered some, he generously 
iNTooght them to a descendant of the great painter, who coldly obser- 
yed , thai ^^ be had a great deal more in the garret, which liad lain 
there for many years , if the rats had not destroyed them ! '' Nothing 
which this great artist wrote bai showed an inyentive genins. 

Menages obsenres on a fHend having had his library destroyed 
by fire, in which several valuable MSS. had perished, (haft such 
a loss is one of the greatest misfortunes that can hi^pen to a 
man of letters. This gentleman afterwards consoled himself bj 
composing a little treatise De iBibUothecce incendio. It must have 
been suflOciently curious. Even in the present day men of letters ^ 
are subject to similar misfortunes \ for though the fir^-offices will 
insure books , they will not allow author^ to value their own 

A flre in tbe Cottonian library drivelled and destroyed many An- 
glo-Saxon MSS. — a loss now irreparable. -Thei^iqiiary is doomed 
to spdl hard and hardly at the baked fragments that crumble in his 

Meninsky's famous Persian dictionary met with a sad fate. Its 
excessive rarity is owing to the siege of Vienna by the Turks; a 
bomb feXL on the author's house , and consumed the principal part 
of his indefatigable labours. There are few sets of this high-priced 
work which do not bear evident proofe of the bomb ; while many 
parts are stained with the water sent to quench the flames. 

The sufferings of an author for the loss of his manuscripts stroAgly 
appetf in the case of Anthony Urceus , a great scholar of the fif- 
teenth century. The loss of his papers seems immediatdy to have 
been followed by madness. At Forli , he had an apartment in the pa- 
lace , and had prepared an important work for publication. His 
room was dark , and he generally wrote by lamp Hght. Having gone 
oat , he left the lamp burning ; the papers soon kindled , and his 
library was reduced to ashes. As soon as he heard the news , he ran 
furioiiMy to (he palace, aiid knocking his head violently against the 
gale, \ittcred this blasphemous language : ^^ Jesus Christ, what great 
crime have I done I who of those who believed in you have I ever 
treated so cruelly? Hear what I am saying, for I am in earnest, 
and am resolved. If by chance I should be so weak as to address 
myself io you at the point of death , don't hear me , for I will not bo 
with you, but prefer hell and its eternity of torments." To which, 
by (he by, he gave litUe credit. Those who heard these ravings, 
vainly tried to console him. He quitted the town , and lived fran- 
ticly, wandering about the woods! 

Ben Jonson's Execration on Vulcan was composed on a like 


oeeaston; 0ie Itiiltg (tf twenty years' study were consumed in one 
sbort hoar; oor titeratore suffered, for among some works otima- 
ghiation there were many pMlosophical collections, a commentary 
on the poetics , a complete critical grammar, a life oT Henry Y . , hb 
Journey intoScofland with all his adventures in that poetical pilgrin)- 
age, and a poem on the ladles of Great Britaiii. What a catalogue 

GflBtelvetro, the Italian commentator on Aristotle, hav^g heard 
that his house was on fire, ran through the streets exclaiming to the 
people, aJla Poetical alia Poetical To the PobticI to the 
Poetic! He was then writing his commentary ^oa the 'poetic of 
Aristotle. ' * • 

Seterd men of lettms ta? e been known to have risen from their 
! dea^hed , to destroy their MSS. So soHcitoos have they been not to 
venture their posthumous reputation in (he hands of undisceming 
Mends. Colardeau , the elegant vf rsifier of Pope's epistle of Eloisa to 
Abelard , had not y||^destaroyed what he had written of a transla- 
tion of Tasso. At the ai)proach of death , he recollected ^is unfi- 
nished labour; he knew that his friends, would not have the cou- 
rage to tonihilate one of his works; this was resenred for him; 
Dying, he raised himself, and as if animated by an honourable 
action, he dragged himself along , and with trembling hands sei- 
zed his papers , and consumed them in one sacrifice. — I recoUed 
ffliother instance of a man of letters , of our own country, who act- 
ed the same part. He had passed his li(^ in constant study, and 
it was observed that he had written several folio volumes , which 
his modest fears would not permit him to e^^pose to the eye even of 
his criticM fHends. He promised to leave his labours to post^ty ; 
and he seemed sometimes , with a glow on his countenance , to exuK 
that they would not be unworthy of their acceptance. At his deatti 
his sensibility took the alarm ; he had the folios iHrought to his 
bed ; no one could open them , for they were closely locked. Ac 
the sight of his favourite and mysterious labours, he paused; he 
seemed disturbed in his mind , whUe he felt at every moment his 
strength decaying ; suddenly he raised his feeble hands by an effort 
of firm resdve, burnt his papers, and smiled as the greedy Yulcaa 
licked up every page. The task exhausted his remaining strength , 
and he socm aflerwards expired. The late Mrs. Inchbald had writ- 
ten her life in several volumes ; on her death-bed, from a mottve 
perhaps of too much delicacy to admit of any argument , she re- 
quested a Mend to cut ttiem into pieces before her eyes — not ha- 
ving sufficient sUrength herself to perform this fiinereal office. These 
are instances of what may be caBed the heroism of authors. 

The republic of letters has suffered irrq[Nirable losses by ship- 



"mi^ CoBiino Yeronese, one <3t those learned ItaHans wko Uih 
wfled througli Greece for the recovery of MSS.^ had his persere- 
ranee repaid by the ac(}uistUon of many TaluaMe works. On his 
Telnm to Italy he was shipwrecked, anA lost his treasuresi So 
poignant was hia grief on wl occarion that ,, according to the re- 
litioD of om of his countrymen , his hair became suddenly white. 

Ahout the year 1700 ^ HuWe , an opident burgomaster of Mid- 
diaburgh , animated sol^ by litervy curiosity, went to Qdna to 
instruct hhns^f in the language > and in whateTer was remarkable 
in this stugular people. He acquired the skill of a mandarine in 
Ibat difficult language ^ nor did the form of his Dutch f^e undo* 
ceire the physk>gnomists of China. He succeeded to the dignity of 
a mandarlBe ^ he trav^ed through the provineas under ih^ cha- 
rade, and returned- to Sur<^ with a cc^lection of observations , 
fbecberisbed labour iof thirty year^, and all these were sud^ in the 

The great PineUan Uinrary, after the deatti of its iBustiious pos- 
sessor, fiBed fliree vessels to be conveyed to Naples. Pursued by 
cocsalrs, one ^ the vessels was ttken-, but the pirates finding no- 
thing Ofl board but books, they threw them ril into ttie sea : such 
was the fiite of a great portion of this ftonous library. Natfonal li- 
braries harve often perished al sea , from the circumstance of con-( 


querorstraisporting them into their own kingdoms. /a4. . 6) 


ALTilioUGH ft is ^ Opinion of some critics that our literary 
kHses do not amount to the extent which others imagine , they are 
however much greater than ttiey allow. Our severest losses are felt 
in the liislorictti province ^ and parliculaiiy in the earliest records , 
wMdi might not have been the least interesting to philosophieal 

Tlieblst<»7 of PhcBUiela by Saneboniathon, supposed to be a 
eoutefi^porary with SoloiMn, now consists of only a few i^uable 
fjnagHMits preserved by EusebiiM. The same ill fortune attends Ma- 
B^ho*a faMory of Egypt? cnid Bctomb's history of Chaldea. The 
hialoriea^ of these most ancient nations, however veiled in feUes^ 
wmdd have presenled to the phtosopher singular crf^ects of con- 

or the history of Pdybius, which once contdned ibrty books ^ 
we have now only five ^ of tie historical libnu7 of Diodonis Sicolus 
fifteen books only remain out of forty ^ and half of the Roman anti- 
quities of IMonysius Halicamassensis has perished. Of tiie eighty 
books of the history of Dion Cassius , twenty-five only remain. The 


present opening book of Ammianus Bfarcellinus is entitled the 
fourteenth. Livy's history consisted of one hundred and forty books, 
and we only possess thirty-five of that pleasing historian. What a 
treasure has been lost in the thirty books of Tacitus! little more 
than four remain. Murphy elegantly observes , that '^ the reign of 
Titus, the delight of human kind, is totally lost, and Domitian 
has escaped the vengeance of the historian's pen.'' Yet Tacitus in 
fragments is stiU the colossal torso of history. Yelleius Paterculus, 
of whom a fragment only has reached us , we owe to a single copy : 
no other having ever been discovered , and which has occasioned 
the text of this historian to remain incurably corrupt. Taste and 
criticism have certainly incurred an irreparable loss in that Trea- 
tise on the Causes of the Corruption 0/ Eloquence , -by Quinti- 
tilian ; which he has himself noticed with so much satisfaction in 
his '' Institutes." Petrarch declares, that in his youth he had seen 
the works of Tarro, and the second Decad of Livy ; but all his 
endeavours to recover them were firuittess. 

These are only some of the most known losses; but in reading 
contemporary writers we are perpetuaDy discovering ms(hy impor- 
tant ones. We have lost two precious works in ancient biography* 
Yarro wrote the lives of seven hundred illustrious Romans ; and 
Atticus , the friend of Cicero, composed another, on the acts* of the 
great men among the Romans. When we consider that these writers 
lived familiarly with the finest geniuses of their times , and were 
opulent, hospitable, and lovers of the fine arts, their biography 
and their portraits , which are said to have accompanied them , are 
felt as an irreparable loss to literature. I suspect likewise we have 
had great losses of which we are not always aware ; for in that 
curious letter in which the younger Pliny describes in so in- 
teresting a manner the sublime industry, for it seems sublime by 
its magnitude , of his Uncle ' , it appears that his Natural History, 
that vast register of the wisdom and the credulity of the ancients, 
was not his most extraordinary labour. Among his other works we 
find a history in twenty books , which has entirely perished. We 
discover also the works of writers , which , by the accounts of them , 
appear to have equalled in genius those which have descended to 
us. I refer the curious reader to such a poet whom Pliny has feel- 
ingly described ^ He tells us that '^ his works are never out of my 
hands; and whether I sit down to write any thing myself^ or to 
revise what I have already wrote, or am in a disposition to amuse 
myself, I constantly take up this agreeable author; and as often as 

' Book 111. Letter V. Melmoth*s translatioii. 
^ Book 1. Letter XVI. 


1 4o SO , he 19 stiH new.'' He had before compared (his poet to Ga- 
toUus; and in a critic of so fine a taste as Pliny, to have cherished 
so constant an intercourse with the writings of this author, indi- 
cates high powers. Instances of this kind frequently occur. Who 
does not regret the loss of the Anticatones of Ceesar? 

The losses which the po^ical world has sustained are suffi- 
ciently known by those who are conversant with the few invaluable 
fragments of Menander, who might have interested us perhaps 
morci thaq Homer : for he was evidently the domestic poet , and 
the lyre he touched'was formed of the strings of ttie human heart. 
He was the painter of manners, and (he historian of the passions. 
The opinion of Quintilian is confirmed by the golden fragments • 
preserved for the English reader in* the elegant versions of Cum- 
berland. Even of .£schyhis, Sophocles, and Euripides, who each 
^Tote about one hundred dramas , seven only have been preserved , 
and nineteen of Euripides. Of the one hundred and thirty comedies 
of Plautus , we only inherit twenty imperfect one^ The remainder 
of Ovid's FasU has never been recovered. 

I believe that a philosopher would consent to lose any poet to 
regain an historian ; nor is this unjust , for some future poet may 
arise to supply the vacant place of a lost poet , but it is not so with 
Qie historian. Fancy may be supplied ; but Truth once lost in the 
annals of mankind leaves a chasm never to be filled. Q /T 


The scholastic questions were called Questiones Quodlibeticce ; 
and they were generally so ridiculous that we have retained the 
word Quodlibet in our vernacular style , to express any thing ridi- 
culously subtile^ something which comes at length to be distin- 
guished into nothingness, 

•• With all the rash dexterity of wit." 

The history of the scholastic pWlosophy might furnish an in- 
slractive theme ; it would enter into the history of ttie human 
nund , and fill a niche in our literary annals. The works of the 
scholtttics, with the debates of ttiese Quodlibetarians , at once 
^ti0w the greatness and the littieness of the human intellect ^ for 
though Uiey often degenerate into incredible absurdities , ttiose who 
have examined Ihe works of Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus 
have confessed.their admiration of ttie Herculean texture of brain 
which they exhausted in demoUshing ttieir aerial fabrics. 

The folllowing is a slight sketch of the school divinity. 

The christian doctrines in the primitive ages of Oie gospel were 


adapted to the slmgie cimiprehensioii of the multttude ; meCaphy^ 
gical sublilties were not ey^ employed by Ibe Falherg, of whom 
several are eloquent The homilies explained by an obvkMis inter* 
jIMretation, some scriphiral point, or inferred , by artless illustra- 
tion, some moral doctrine. When the Arabians became the only 
learned people, and their empire extended over the greatest part 
of the known world , they impressed their own genius on those 
nations witti whom they were allied as friends, or reverenced as 
masters. The Arabian genius was fond of abstruse studies^ it was 
highly metai^ysical and matematici^? for the floe arts their reli- 
gioA did not admit them to cultivate *, and it appears that the flrst 
« knowledge which modem Europe obtained of Euclid and Aristotk^ 
was Hirough the medium of Latin translations of Arabic versions. 
The Christians in the west received their first lessons from the 
Arabians in the east ; and Aristotle , with his Arabic commentaries , 
was enthroned in the schools of Christendom. 

Then burst i^ birth from the dark cave of metaphysics a nu- 
merous and ugly spawn of monstroua sects; unnatural chikiren of 
the same foul naother, who never met but for muhial destruction. 
Religion became what is called the study of divinity ; and they aR 
attempted'to reduce the worship eC God into a system! Uie creed 
into a thesis! Every point rdating to religioB was debated ttiroiigh 
7\ J^ endless chain of infinite questions , Incomprehensible distinc- 
' \^ "^ibns, with differences mediate and uimediate, the concrete and 
the abstraot , a perpetual djril war carried on against common sense 
in all the Aristotelian severity. There existed a rage for Aristotle ; 
and Mekmcthon complains that in sacred assemfohes the ethics of 
Aristotle were read to the people instead of the gospel. Aristode 
was placed a-head of St. Paul ; and St. Thomas Aquinas in his works 
distinguishes him by the title of '^ 'Hie Philosopher;'' inferring, 
doubtless that no other man could possibly fie a philosopher who 
msagreed with Aristotle. Of the blind riles paid to Aristotle, the 
anecdotes of the Nominalists and Realists are noticed in the article 
'' Literary controversy" in this work. 

Had ttieir subtile questions and perpetual wian^kigs only been 
addressed to the metflq[>hysician in his doset, and had nothing but 
strokes of the pen occurred , the scholastic diviiiity would only have 
formed an episode in the calm narrative of Ifterary history; but it 
has claims to be registered in political amiab, from the numerous 
persecuUons and Iragkjal events with whioh they too long perplexed 
their followers, and disturbed the repose of Burope« The Thomiste, 
and the Scotists, the Occamites, and many others, soarod into Ihe 
regions of mysticism. 

Peter LombaiHl had laboriously compiled after the celebrated 



AWaid's '' IntroddcUoD to Divinily," his four books of "Sen- 
tences;' from the wiitiogg of the Fathers , and for this be isciiled 

The Master of Sentence." These Senlepces , on which we have 
so many commentaries , are a collection of [wsages torn the Falben , 
the real or apparent contradictions of whom he endeayonrs to re- 
coodie. But his successors were not satisfied to be mere commen- 
Mors on these " Sentences/' which they now only made use of as a 
row of pe(^ to hang on their fine-spun raietaphyrical cobwebs. They 
atlengtti collected aM these guodUbetical questiow into enonnous 
Tolomes, under tbe tcrrifyhigform, for those who have seen them , 
<i Summaries oj Dwini^! They contrived by their chimerical 
Vecnlations, to question the plainest truths; to wrest the single 
meaning of the |ioly Scriptures , and give some appearance of truth 
to the most ridiculous and monstrous opinions. 

tee (tf file subtile qqestions which agitated the wocld in the tenth 
OBtary, rdaling to dialectics, was concerning uni^ersah (as for 
example, man , bQiw , dog , etc.) signifying noi tii5 or tAae in par- 
tteular, bat ofi in general, lli^y distinguished imii^^sals, or what 
we call ahstraci terms, ^y the genera and species rerum^ and 
they never could decide whether these weresubsiances-^or names! 
niat is , whether the abstract idea we form of a horse was not really 
a being as much as the horse we ride ! All this and scnae congenial 
pnais respecting the origin of our ideas, and what ideas were, 
and whether we reaHy bad an idea of a thing before we discovered 
flie tUng itself— -in a word, what they called universals, and the 
essence of universals \ of dl tUs nonsense on which they at length 
proceeded to accusfttions of heresy, and for which many learned 
nai were exconwniMiicatcd, stoned, and what not, the whole was 
dedved^firom the iiev^ri(% of Blato, Aristotle, and Zeno, about the 
natoreof ideas ; than which subject to ttie present day no discussion 
erer degenerated into such insanity. A modem metsyphysi<^an infers 
that we have no idess at oil I 

Of the sdhotafl^divilie^, the most iUuslrious was Saint Thomas 
Aquinas, styled the Angelical Doctor. Seventeen folio volumes not 
only testify JUs tednstry,^ even his genius. He was a great man 
tested all his life with making ttie charades of metaphysics. 

My learned friend Sharon Turner has favoured me with a notice 
of his greatest work— his " Sum of all Theology," Summa totius 
Theohgice, Paris, t$l$. Jt is a metaphysicological treatise, or 
the most abstruse metaphysics of theology. It occupies above 
1250 Mo pages , of very small close print in double colunms. It 
may be worth no^ng tbQt to this work are appended 19 folio pages 
of douUe ccdumns of errata, and afK)ut 200 of additional index! 

The whole is thrown into an Aristotelian form *, the diifieulties or 


questions are proposed first, and the answers are then appended. 
There are 168 articles on Love — 358 on Angels — ^200 on the Soiil — 
85 on Demons — 161 on the Intellect— 134 on Law — 3 on the Cala- 
menia— 237 on Sins— 17 on Virginity, and others on a variety of 

The scholastic free is covered with prodigal foliage , hut is barren 
of fruit ; and when the scholastics employed themselves in solving 
the deepest mysteries, their philosophy became nothing more than 
an instrument in the hands of the Roman Pontiff. Aquinas has com- 
posed 358 articles on angels , of which a few of the heads have been 
cuUed for the reader. 

He treats of angels, their substance, orders, offices, natures, 
habits , etc. — as if he himself had been an old experienced angel ! 

Angels were not before the world ! ' • 

Angels might have been bdbre the world ! 

Angels were created by God — ^They were created immediately 
by him — ^They were created in the Empyrean sky— They, were 
created in grace — ^They were created in imperfect beatitude. After a 
severe chain of reasoning , he shows that angels are incorporeal 
compared to us , but corporeal compared to God. 

An angel is composed of action and potentiality ; the more supe- 
rior he is, he has the less potentiality. They have not matter pro- 
perly. Every angel diifers fh)m another angel in qpecies. An ang^ 
is of the same species as a soul. Angels have not naturally a body 
united to them. They may assume bodies*, but tl^y do not want to 
assume bodies for themselves , but for us. ' 

The bodies assumed by angeb ace of thick air. 

The bodies they assume have not the natural virtues which they 
show, nor the operations of life, but those which are common to 
inanimate things. 

An angel may be the same with a body. 

In the same body there are , the soul formrify giving being, and 
operating natural operations; and the angel operating supernatural 

Angeb administer and govern every corporeal creature. 

God , an angel , and the soul , are not contained in space , but con- 
tain it. 

Many angels cannot be in the same space. 

The motion of an angel in space is nothing else than different 
contacts of different successive places. 

The motion of an angel is a succession of his different operations. 

His motion may be continuous and discontinuous as he will. 

The continuous motion of an angel is necessary through every 
medium , but may be discontinuous wittiout a medium. 


The Ydocity of the motion of an angel is not according to the 
quantity of his strength, hut according to his will. 

Themotionof theifluminationof an angel is threefold, orcircu- 
lar, straight, and oMiqae. 

In (his account of the motion of an angel we are reminded of the 
beautiful description -of Milton, who marks it by a continuous mo- 

** SmooCh-sUdliig widMMt step.*' 

The reader desirous of being merry with Aquinas's angels may 
find them in Martinus Scriblerus , in Ch. VII. who inquires if angels 
pass from one exbreme to another without going through the middle? 
And if angels know things more clearly in a morning? How many 
angels can dance on the point of a very fine needle , without Jostling 
one another? 

All the questions in Aquinas are answered with a subtlety of dis- 
UnctiiHi more difficult to comprehend and remember than many pro* 
blems in Euclid ; and perhaps a few of the best might still be selected 
for youth as curious exercises of the understanding. However, a 
great part of these peculiar productions are loaded with the most 
trifliog , irrererend , and eyen scandalous discussions. Even Aquinas 
could grayely debate. Whether Christ was not an Hermaphrodite? 
Whether there are excrements inPsaradise? Whether the pious at the 
resurrection will rise vith their bowels? Others agahi debated — 
Whether the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary in the 
shape of a serpent, of a doye, of a man , or of a woman? Did he 
seem to be young or old? In what dress was he? Was his garment 
while or of two colours? Was his linen clean or foul? Did he appear 
ID the morning, noon, or evening? What was the colour of the 
Virgin Mary!8 hair? Was she acquainted with the mechanic and 
liberal arts? Had she a thorough knowledge of the Book of Sen- 
leooes, and aU it contains? that is, Peter liombard's compilation 
from the works of the Fathers, written 1200 years after her death. 
— ^But these are only trifling matters ^ they also agitated, Whether 
when during her conception the Virgin was seated, Christ too was 
seated; and whether when she lay down , Christ also lay down. The 
foUowing question was a favourite topic for discussion , and the acu- 
lest logicians never resolved it : ^^ When a hog is carried to market 
with a rope tied about its neck, which is held at the other end by a 
man , whether is the hog carried to market by the rope or the 

In the tenth century", after long and ineCTectual controversy 

' /ortBi'f Kesarks on Eodciustkal Huiotj, Vol. V, p. 17. 


abottf the real presence of Ghrisl ifi the Saeramefit, they at length 
uniyersally agreed to rign a peace. This mutual forbearance must 
not however be ascribed to the prudence and virtue of those times. 
It .was mere ignorance and incapacity of reasoning which Icept the 
peace, and deterred them firom entering intb debates to which they 
at length (band themsehes unequal ! 

Lord Lyttelton, in his Life of Henry IL, laments the unhappy 
effects of the scholastic philoM^y on the progress of the human 
mind. The minds of men were turned from classical studies to the 
subtilties of school divinity, which Rome encouraged as more pro- 
fitable for the maintenance of her doctrines. It was a grefat misfor- 
tune to religion and to learning , that men of such acute understand- 
ing as Abelard and Lombard , who might have done much to reform 
the errors of the church , and to restore science in Europe ,. should 
have depraved both , by applying their admirable parts to weave these 
cobwebs of sophistry, and to confound the clear simplicity of evange- 
lical truths by a false philosophy and a captious logic. 


All ihen are fond of glory, and even those phUosophers who 
write against that ndb\e passion prefix their names to their own 
works. It is worthy of observation that the authors of two religious 
booh, universally received, have concealed their names from the 
world. The ^^ Imitation of Christ'' is attributed , without any autho- 
rity, to Thomas A'Kempis-, and the author of the ^^ Whole Duty of 
Man'' still remains undiscovered. Millidns of their books have been 
dispersed in fiie christian worid. 

To have revealed their names , would have given them as much 
worldly flame as any moralist has obtained — but they contemned it I 
Their religion was raised above all worldly passions ! Some profane 
writers indeed have also 6oncealed their names to great woits, but 
their motives Were of a very dififerent cast. 


Nothing is so capable of disordering the intellects as an intense 
applicafion to any one of Biese six filings : the Quadrature of the 
Circle-, the Multiplication of the Cube ; fiie Perpetual Motion ; the 
Philosophical Stone ; Magic ^ and Judicial Astrology. ^^ It is proper, 
however," Fontenelle remarks, ^^ to apply one's sdf to these inqui- 
ries -, because we find , as we proceed, many vahiable discoveries of 
which we were before ignorant." The same thought Coiriey has ap- 
plied, in an address to his mistress, thus— 


*' AbliiMigii I lUbk tho« sever will be Ibund, 
Tct rm re«olv^ to iearcb for thee : 
Tbe search iUelf rewards the pains. 

So though tbe ch jmist his great secret nuss , 
( For neither it in art nor natnrc b) 

Tet tbihigs wdl wtttb his^il he gaiae; , 

And does his charge and labour pay 
l^ith good uosooght ^peruneots by the way.** 

The same thought fe in Donne; perhaps Gowley did not suspect 
that he was an imitator; FonteneDe could not have read either; he 
stnick out the thought by his own reflection. 61aui)er searched long 
and deeply for the philosopher's stone, which though he did not 
find , yet in his researches he discovered a very usefhl purging salt , 
which bears his name. 

Maopertuis observes on the Philosophical Stone , that we cannot 
prove the impossibility of obtaining it, but we can easily see the 
folly of those who employ their time and money in seeking for it. 
This price is too great to counterbalance the Utile probability of suc- 
ceeding in it. However it is still a bantling of modem chemistry, who 
has nodded very affectionately on it! — Of the Perpetual Motion, 
he shows ttie impossibility, at least in the sense in which it is gene- 
rally received. On ftie Quadrature of the Circle, he says he caniSot 
decide if this prof^lem be resolvaMe or not : but he observes, that 
it is very useless to search for it any more ; since we have arrived by 
approiiination to such a point of accuracy, that on a large circle^ 
snch as the orbit which the earth describes round the sun , the 
geometrician will not mistake by flie thickness' of a hair. The quad- 
rature of flie circle is still, however, a favourite game of some 
visionaries , and several are still imagining that they have discovered 
the perpetual motion ; the Italians nick-name them mauo perpe- 
too; and Bekker teDs us of the fate of one Hartmann of Leipsic, 
who was in such despair at having past his life so vainly, in study- 
ing the perpetual motion, that at length he hanged himself! 


Some writers, uso^ pedants, imagine that they can supply 
by ^bB labours of industry the deQciencies of nature. Paulus Manu- 
ttns fin^iueafly spent a month in writing a single letter. He affected 
lo imitate Cicero. But although he painfhfly attained to something 
of the elegance of his style, destitute of the native graces of unaf- 
fected composition , he was one of those whom Erasmus f>antered in 
\m dceroTiianus , as so slavishly devoted to Cicero's style , that 
fiiey ridiculously emplo^red the utmost precautions when they were 
seiacd by a Qceronian fit The Nosopon^s of Erasmus telb us of 


his devotion to Cicero*, of his three indues to all his words, and his 
never writing but in the dead of night ; employing months upon a 
few lines, and lus religious veneration for words, with his total 
indifference about the sense. 

Le Brun , a Jesuit, was a singiAir instance of sach unhappy imi- 
tation. He was a Latin poet , and his themes were religious. He 
formed the extravagant project of substituting a religious FirgU 
and Ovid merely by adapting his works to their tiUes. His Chris-- 
tian f^irgil consists^ like the Pagan Yi^gil oi Eclogues, Gear- 
gics , and of an Epic-6i twelve boo|^, with this difference, that 
devotional subjects are substituted for (fabulous ones. His epic is the 
Ignaciad, or the pilgrimage of Saint IgnatiUs. His Christian Quid 
is in the same taste; every thing wears a new face. The Epistles 
are pious ones ; the Fasti are the fix days of the Creation *, the 
Elegies are the Lamentations of Jeremiah ; a poem on the Loi^e 
of God is substituted for the An of Love; and the history of some 
Conversions supplies the place of the Metamorp/ioses! This Jesuit 
would, no doubt, have approved oi^jamily Shakespeare! 

A poet of far different character, the elegant Sannaiarius, has 
done much the same thing in his poem. De partu Firginis. The 
same servile imitation of ancient taste appears.' It professes to cele- 
{)rate the birUi of Christ, yet his name is not once mentioned in it \ 
The f^irgin herself is styled spes deorrnn! "The hope of the 
Gods!" The Incarnation is predicted *by Proteus! The Virgin , 
instead of consulting the sacred writing^, reads the SybiUine 
oracles! Her aiten<j|^nts are Dryads, rfereids, etc. This mons- 
trous mixture of polytheism with the mysteries of Christianity ap- 
peared in every tiling he had about him. In a chapel at one of his 
country seats he had two stahies placed at his tOHib, Apollo and 
Minerva; catholic piety found no difficulty in the present case, as 
well as in innumerable others of the same kind , to inscribe the 
statue of Apollo with the name of David, and that of Minerva 
with the female one of Judith ! 

Seneca, in his 114th Epistte, gives a curious literary anecdote 
of the sort of imitation by which an inferior mind becomes the mon- 
key of an original writer. At Rome, when Sallust was the fashion- 
able writer, short sentences, uncommon words, and an obscvtB 
brevity, were affected as so many elegancies. Arruntius, who wrote 
tl^e history of the Punic Wars , painfully laboured to imitate Sallust. 
Expressions which are rare in Sallust are frequent in Arruntius, 
and, of course, without the motive that induced Sallust to ^opt 
them. What rose natur^jlly under the pen of the great historian, the 
minor one must have run after wiUi a' ridiculous anxiety. Seneca 
adds several instances of the servile affectation of Arruntius, which 

IMITA'ffORS. 67 

seem much tike ttiose we oaee had of Johnson , by the undiscerning 
befd of his apes. * 

One cannot but smOe at these imitdtors ; we have abounded with . 
tbem. In the days of Churchill, every month produced an effusion 
which tolerably imitated his slovenly versification , his coarse invec- 
tive, and his careless mediocrity — ^but the genius' remained with the 
English Juvenal. Sterne had his countless multitude, and in Field- 
log's time, Tom Jones produced more bastards in wit than the 
author could Qi¥er suspect. To sifch literary echoes, the reply of 
Philip of Macedon to one who prided himself on imitating the notes 
or Ik nightingale may br nj^tlied; '' I prefer the nightingale 
iiewJf I ^^ Even tlie most sucif ^sful of this imitating tribe must be 
dmmtd to share the Tate or Silius Italicus in his cold imitation of 
1 irgil , and Cawthorne in his empty harmony of P6pe. 

To aJJ tlK-^e imitators I tiiuf^i apply an Arabian anecdote. Ebn Saad, 
one of _^ralu)uicrs ainiinueusuii , when writing what th* prophet die- 
lalGd, cried out by way of aditiiration — ^^ Blessed be God the best 
Cnalor!'' Maliomet approved of the expression, and desired him 
to write ttiosf* words df»wn as part of the inquired passage. — ^The 
conseqaenee was , (hat IThn^Sanr! i)egan to think himself as great a 
prophet as his master^^and took upon himself to imitate the Koran 
accordmg to his-ilancy; but the imitator ggt himself into trouble , 
and only escaped with life by falling on his knees , and solemnly 
swearing he would never again imitate the Koran , for which he was 
sensible God had never created hun. 


"I SHOUU>, " says Menage, " have received great pleasure to 
have conversed with Cicero, had I lived in his time. He must have 
been a man very agreeable in^ conversation, since even Ceesar care- 
fully collected his bon mots. Cicero has boasted of the great actions 
he has done for his coanfay, because there itf no vanity in exulting 
in the perfcnmance of our duties *, but he has not boasted that he was 
the most eloquent orator of his age , though he certainly was ^ be-^ 
cause nothing is .more disgusting than to exult in our intellectual 

Whatever were the bon mots of Cicero, of which few have come 
down to us , it is certain that Cicero was an inveterate punster : and 
he seems to have been more ready with them than with repartees. 
He said to a senator, who was the son of a tailor, " Rem acu teti-^ 
gisti.'" You have touched it sharply ^ acu means sharpness as well 
as the point of a needle. To the son of a cook^ " Ego quoque tibi 
jure faxfebo.'' The ancients pronounced coce and quoque like 


co'ke, which dludes lo the Latin cocus, cock , besides the ambi- 
guity oljure , which applies to broth or Imv—jus. A SiciUan sus- 
pected of being a Jew, attempted to get the cause of Yerres into his 
own hands ^ Cicero, who knew that he was a oreatore of the great 
culprit, opposed him , observing *< What has a Jew to no with 
swine's flesh? " The Romans called a boar pig Ferres. I regret to 
afford a respectable aufliority for forensic puns ; ho^eyer, to have 
degraded his adversaries by such petty personalities, only proves 
that Cicero's taste was not exquisite. 

There is something very original in Montaigne's censure of Cicero. 
Cotton's translation is admirable. 

^' Boldly to confess the truth, bis w^y of writing, and that of ril 
other lohg-winded authoi^ , appears to me very tedious \ fbr his 
preface, definitions, divisions, and etymologies, take up the greatest 
part of his work : whatever ttiere id of liib and marrow, is smothered 
and lost in the preparation. When I have spent an hour hi reading 
him , which is a great deal for me , and recollect what I have thence 
extracted of juice and substance, for the most part I fhid nothing 
but wind : for held not yet come to the arguments that serve to his 
purpose, and the reasons that should properly help to loose the knot 
I would untie. Fbr me , who only desired to become more vrise , not 
more learned or eloquent, these logical or Aristotelian disquisitions 
of poets are of no use. t look for good and solid reasons at the first 
dash. I am for discourses that give the first charge into the heart of 
the do^bt ', his languish about the subject , and delay our expectation. 
Those are proper for the schools, for the bar, and for the pulpit , 
where we have leisure to nod^ and may awake a quarter of an hour 
after, time enough to find again the thread of the discourse. It is 
necessary to speak after this manner to Judged , whom a man has a 
design , right or wrong, to incline to favour his cause \ to children 
and common people , to whom a man must say all he can. I would 
not have ah author make it his business to render me attentive -, or 
that he should cry out fifty times 0/e^/as the clerks and heralds do. 

^^As to Cicero, I am of the common opinion that, learning 
excepted , he had no great natural parts. He was a good citiien , of 
an affable nature , as all fat heavy men— <g^ra5 et gausseurs are the 
words hi the original, meaning perhaps broad Jokers, f«r Cicero 
was not M. >^such as he was , usually are; but given to ease , and 
had a mighty share of vanity and ambition. Neither do I know how 
to excuse him fbr thinking his poetry fit to be published. Tis no 
great imperfection to write ill verses; but it is an imperfection nol 
to be able to Judge how unworthy bad verses were of the glory of 
his name. For what concerns his eloquence , that is totally out of 
comparison, and I believe will never be equalled." 

j^,>__^i/.^* - t^t-^^ I .-.* •rvu4..s.c . L^ f , 



A puvACE, being the ^ilraiioe to a book, sheold inrite by \H 
taotj. An idegant porch aniMHiDbes thespleiidoor of the interior. I 
hue olMerted VbBfi ordiBmrj readers skip oter Iheae little elaborate 
eonqpositfoni. The laittes consider them as ao flMtiy pi^es IM 
Blight better be employed in the addition of a pictttreaqoeMeile, or 
atender Mter to their noreia. Fat my fiart I alwaya gather amuse- 
ment firom a preftce^ be itoifkwardly or sUlftiUy written; for dul- 
ness, or impertinence, may raise a laugh for a page or two. A preface 
is flkvqaetttty a superior compo^on to the work Itself v for, long 
beftMre the days of J<An8<m , it had been a custom with many authors 
io solicit for this department of theh* work the ornamental contribu- 
tion of a man of genius. (Icero tells his friend Atticus, that he had 
a Tohime of prefixes or introduction^ always ready by him to be 
ased 38 circumstances required. These mist have been like our 
perMHcal essays. A good prefiice to as essential to put the reader 
imo good huhioiil^, as a good prologue is to a play, or a fine symphony 
to an opera, cohtfldnittg something analogous to the work itself; so 
that we i&ay IM its want as a desire not eMwhere to be gratified. 
The Italians can iht preftMM la saba del libro, the sauce of the 
book^ttid if well seasoned it creates an appetite in the reader to de- 
vour Ghe book itself. A preface badly composed prejudices the reader 
against the work. Authors are not equally fortunate in these Uitle 
iotrodnctions ; some can compose yohimes more skilfully than pre- 
bees J and others can finish a prefiice who couki never be capable 
of finiahing a book. 

On a terj elegant ][>reface prefixed to an ill-written book , it was 
ofiaerreil that they ohghi never to have come together^ but a saT^ 
cMie wit remarkM that he coosidered such marriages w6fe allow- 
aHe, Ibr they were hot ofKiti, 

\xk prefaces an affected haughtiness or an affected humility are 
alike de^cable. There is a deficient dignity in Robertson's ; but the 
bangfatiness is now to our purpose. ThUi is called by the fVench 
" la morgue litteraire,y*' the surly pomposity of literature. It Is 
sometfanes used by writers who have succeeded in their first work, 
while flie Cailure of their subsequent iMt>ductions appears to have 
given them a literary hypochondriasm. Dr. Armstrong, after his 
Oas&M poeih, beVer shook hands cordially with the public for not 
nefiahlng his barren labours. In the pre/ace to his lively '' Sketches'' 
he teib us, ^^ he could give them much bolder strokes as well as 
more deUcale touches , but that he dreads the danger (^'writing 
too well, and feels the value of his own labour too sensibly to bestow 
it upon the mobility'' This is pure milk compared to the gall in the 


pr^oce to his poems. There he tells us, ^^ that at last he has taken 
the trouble to collect them! What he has destroyed would, pro- 
bably enough , have been belter received by the great majority of 
readers. But he has always mjost heartily despised their opinion,'''' 
These prefaces renund one of the prologi galeati, prefaces with a 
helmet ! as St. Jerome entitles the one to his Version of the Scriptures. 
These armed prefaces were formeiiy very common in the age <tf 
literary controversy, for half the business of an author consisted then, 
either in replying, or anticipating aT reply, to tfie attacks of his 

Prefoces ought to foe dated \ as these become, after a series of 
editions, leading and useful circumstances in literary history. 

Fuller with quaint humour observes on Indexes — "An Index 
is a necessary implement , and no impediment of a iMX>k , except in 
the same sense wherein the carriages of ah army are termed Impe- 
dimenta. Without this, a large author is but a labyrinth without a 
clue to direct the reader therein. I confess there is a Idky kind of 
learning which is only Indical^ when scholars (like adders which 
only bite the horse's heels) nibble but at the tables, which are ceilces 
librorum, neglecting the f)ody of the book. But though the idle de- 
serve no crutches (let not a staff be used by them, but on them), pity 
it is the weary should be denied the benefit thereof, and industiious 
scholars prohibited the accommodation of .an index, most used by 
those who most pretend to contemn it.'^ 


There is some prob^ility that this art originated in China , where 
it was practised long before it was known in Europe. Some Euro- 
pean traveller might have imported the hint. That the Romans did 
not practise the art of printing cannot but excite our astoni^ment, 
since they actually used it, unconscious of their rich possession. I 
have seen Roman stereotypes , or printing immoveable types with 
which they stamped theiiv pottery. How in daily practising the art, 
though confined to this object , it did not occur to so ingenious a 
people to print their literary works , is not easily to be accounted 
for. Did the wise and grave senate dread those inconveniences which 
attend its indiscriminate use? Or perhaps they did not care to deprive 
so large a body of Scribes of their business. Not a hint of the art itself 
appears in their writings. 

Where first the art of printing was di^overed, they only made 
use of one side of a leaf ^ they had not yet found out the expedient of 
impressing the other. Afterwards they thought of pasting thei)lank 
sides , which made tliem appear like one leaf. Their blocks were 


Ittde of soft "vroods, and their letters jrere carved; but firequently 
breaking, the expense and (rouble of canring and gluing new letters 
suggested our moveable types, which have produced an ahnost mi- 
racokms celerity in this art. Our modern stereotype consists of entire 
pages in solid blocks of metal , and , riot being liable to break like the 
softwood at first used , is prc^tably empk>yed for works which require 
la be frequently reprinted. Printing in carved blocks of wood must 
bare gfeatty retarded the progress of universal knowledge : for one 
set of types coold only have produced one work whereas it now 
serves for hundreds. 

When thenr editions were intended to be curious , ttiey omitted 
to print the initial letter of a chapter, they left that blank space to 
be painted or illuminated , to the fancy of the purchaser. Several 
ancient volumes of ttiese early times have been found where these 
letters are wanting , as they neglected to have them painted. 

The initial carved letter, which is generally a fine wood-cut , 
among our printed books , is evidently a remains or imitation of 
these ornaments. Among the very earliest books printed , which 
were religious^ the Poor Man's Bible has wooden cuts in a coarse 
style , without the least shadowing or crossing of strokes , and these 
ftiBf inelegantly daubed over with colours, which they termed illu* 
ininating, and sold at a cheap rate to those who could not afford to 
purchase costly missals elegantly written and painted on vellum. 
Specimens of Oiese rude efforts of illuminated prints may be seen in 
Slrott's Bictionary of Engravers. The Bodleian library possesses the 

In the productions of early printing may be distinguished the 
various sj^endid editions of Primers y or Prayer-books. These 
were embellished with cuts finished in a most elegant taste : many 
of them were grotesque or obscene. In one of them an angel is re- 
presented crowning the Virgin Mary, and God the Father himself 
assisling at the ceremony. Sometimes St. Michael is overcoming 
Satan; and sometimes St Anthony is attacked by various devils of 
most chunsy forms-— not of the grotesque and limber family of 

Printing was gradually practised throughout Europe from the 
year 1440 to 1508. Caiton and his successor Wynkyn de Worde 
were our own earliest printers. Gaxton was a wealthy merchant, 
iho, in 1464 , being sent by Edward IV, to negociate a commer- 
cial treaty witti the duke of Burgundy, returned to his country with 
Qus invaluabte art. Notwithstanding his mercantile habits , he pos- 
seKed a literary taste , and his first work was a translation from a 
ftench historical miscellany. 
The tradition of the Devil and Dr. Faustus was said to have 


been derived firom the odcji circumstance^ in which the BiU^ of 
the first printer, Fust, app&u^ to the world; but if Dr. Faustus 
and Faustus the printer are two different pers(ms , the tradition 
becomes suspicious , though , in some respects , it has a foundation 
in truth. When Fust had discovered this new art , and printed off 
HI considerable number of copies of the BiUe to imitate those wliich 
were conunonly sold as MSS, h^ updertook th^ sale of them at 
IHiris. It was bis interesi to conceal this discovery, and to pass off 
bis printed copies for MSS. But , enabled to sell his BiUas at sixty 
crowns , while the other scribes demanded five hundred , this raised 
universal astonishioeiit ; and still more when he produced cofMOs as 
&st as they nere wanted , and ^en lowered his {nice. The uni^ 
formity of the copies increased the wonder. Inlbrmatians wer^ 
given in to the magistrates against him as a magician ; and in 
searching his lodgings a great number of coj^es were foimd. The 
red ink , and Fust's red ink is peculiarly brilliant, which embel- 
lished his c<^ies, was said to be his blood ; and it was solemnljr 
adjudged that he was in league wijtti the devil. Fust at length was 
oWged, to save hims^ firom a bonfire, to reveal his art to the 
Parliament of Paris, who discharged him tiom all prosacutiop in 
consideration of this useful invention. 

When the art of printing was establisbj9d, it [>ecanie the {^ory of 
the Learned to be correctors of Ihe press to eminent printers. Phy- 
sicians , lawyers , and bishops themselves occuftf ed this department 
The printers then added frequently to their names those of the cor- 
rectors of the press ; and editions were then valued according to 
ihe abilities of the oorreotor. 

The prices of books in these limes were cbns^ered as an object 
worthy of the animadversions of the highest powers. This Anxiety 
in favour of the studious appears from a privilege of Pope Leo X. 
to Aldus Manutius for printing Yarro, d^ed 1553) s»gn^4 Cardinal 
^embo. Aldus is exhorted to put|a moderate price on Jlhe work , 
lest the Pqpe should withdraw Ihe privilege, and accord it to 

Robert Stephens^ one of the early printers, surpassed in qor- 
rectness those who exercised the same profession. 

It is said that to render his editions immaculate , he hung up the 
prooCs in public places, and generously recompensed those who were 
so fortunate as to detect any errata. 

Plantin , though a learned man , is more famous as a printer. 
His printing-rofilce was one of the wonders of Europe. This grand 
building was the chief ornament of -the city of Antwerp. Bfagnificent 
in ils structure ; it presented' to the spectator a countless number 
of presses, characters of all figures and all sizes, matrixes to cast 


UteffS, and «|1 otber priiiUiig materials ^ wbkh Baillet assures us 
amoiiDted to immense sums. 

Id Italy, the Ibree Manulii were more solieiloas of correctness 
aod iliostrations than of (be beauty of tbeir printing. They were 
anbiUouB of the character of the scholar, not of the printer. 

It is much to Jbe regretted that our publiah»B are not literary 

men. Among the learned printers fonnerly a bock was yahied 

because it canoe trom the presses of an Aldus or a Stephens ; and 

eren in our time the names of Bowyer aod Dodsiey sanctioned a 

work. Pelision , in his hi^ory of the French academy, mentions 

that Camusat was selected as their bookseller, from his reputation 

fin- publishing only valuable works. He was a man of some litera- 

lare and good sense , and rarely printed an indifferent work ; when 

we were young I recollect that we always made it a rule to purchase 

his publications. His name was a test of the goodness of the work. '' 

A publifiher of this icharacter would be of the greatest ulifity to the 

ttlerary world \ at home be would induce a number ci ingenious 

men lo become authors, for it would be honourable to be inscribed 

in his catalogue; and it wooU be a direction fbr the continental 


So valuable an union of learning and printing did not, unfortu- 
nately, last The printers of the seventeenth century became less 
cbarmed with glorj- than with gain. Their correctors and their 
letters efinced as little delicacy of choice. 

The invention of what is now caOed tlie ludic letter in printing 
VIS made by AMus Manutius , to whom learning owes much. He 
observed the Miany ineonveinenees resulting from the vast number 
iiabbreinaUQns, wiiich were then so frequent atnang thi' piiniors , 
Ibaf a boQ|[ was difficidt to understand -, a treatise was aclutilly 
aiitten on Ihe act of reading a printed book, and i\m addres>)t^d io 
%m learned I He contrived an^expedient , by which tht^se abhrevia- 1 ^ 
tinnsmg^ f)e entirely fot rid of, and yet books stjfTet \Me im n nse I ' 
in boML This he effected by introducing what is now caElod the* 
Italic kAler, ttiottghit it foraneriy was distinguished by the name of 
Ae imrenlor, and called ithe Aldine. * 


Resides the ordinary errata, which happen in printing a work, 
others have been purposdy committed that the errata, may contain 
what is not permitted to appear in the body of the work. Wherever 
tbe Inquisition had any power, particularly. at Rome, it was not 
alowed to employ Ihe word/atiAxn^ ox fata, in any book. An au- 
thor, desirous of using the latter word , adroitly invented this 


scheme : he had prinled in his bookjacta, and , in (he errata, h^ 
put , (or facta, rmdfata. 

Scarron has done the same thing on another occasion. He had 
composed some verses, at the head of which he placed this dedi- 
cation. — A GuHlemette y Chienne de ma Sceur; bai haying a 
quarrel with his sister, he maliciously put into the errata, inslead 
of Chienne de ma Sceur, read ma C/iienne de Sceur. 

LuUy at the close of a bad prologue ss^id, the word^/z du pro^ 
logue was an erratum, it should have been^ du prologue. 

In a book, there was prinled , le dohe Morel. A wag put into 
the errata, for le docte Morel, read le docteur Morel. This 
Morel was not the first docteur not docte. 

When a fanatic published a mystical work full of unintelligiMe 
raptures , and which he entitled Les Delices de Vf^sprit, it was 
proposed to print in his errata , for Delices, read Delires. 

The author of an idle and imperfect book ended with the usual 
phrase of cetera desiderantur, one altered it non desiderantursed 
desunt; the rest is wanting, but not wanted. 

At the close of a silly ^k , the author as usual printed (he word 
Finis. — A wit put this among the errata, with this pointed couplet : 

Fnris! an error, or a lie, taj friend! 

In writing foolish books— there is no End! 

In the year 1561 , was printed a work, entitled the Anatomy of the 

Mass. It is a thin octavo , of 172 pages, and it is accompanied by an 

Errata of 15 pages ! The edilor, a pious Monk , informs us that a 

very serious reason induced him to undertake this task : for it is, 

says he , to forestal the artifices of Satan. He supposes that (he 

Devil, to ruin the fruit of this work, employed two very malicious 

frauds : the first fmfore it was printed, by drenching the MS. in a 

1 kennel , and having reduced it to a most pitiable state , rendered se- 

{ veral parts illegible : the second , in obliging the printers to commit 

• such numerous blunders, never yet equalled in so small a work. To 

combat this double machination of Satan he was obliged careCully to 

re-peruse the work , and to form this singular list of the blunders of 

printers , under the influence of the Devil. All this he relates in an 

advertisement prefixed to the Errata. 

A furious controversy raged between two famous scholars from a 
very laughable but accidental Erratum ; and threatened serious con- 
sequences to one of the parties. Flavigny wrote two letters, criticising 
rather freely a polyglot Bible edited by Abraham Ecchellensis. As 
this learned editor had sometimes censured the labours of a friend oT 
Flavigny, this latter applied to him the third and fifth verses of the 
seventh chapter of St. Matthew, which he printed in Latin. Ycr. 3^ 


Qidivides fesUicam in ocviofratris tui, et trabem in oculo 
tmmn'uides?yev. 5. E/'iceprimiim trabem deocvhO tuo, et 
tunc videbis ejicerefestucam de ocvuofratris tui. EccheHensIs 
opens his reply by accusing flavigny of an enormous crime com- 
milted in t&is passage ; attempting to correct the sacred text of the 
Evangelisl, and daring to reject a word , while he supplied its place 
bj soother as impious as obscene/ This crime , exaggerated with 
all the Tinileiice of an angry declaimer, closes with a dreadAU accu- 
sation. Flayigny's morals are attacked, and his reputation overtun- 
ed by a horrid imputation. Tet all this terrible reproach is only 
fiMmded on an Erratum/ The whole arose from the printer having 
negligently saff^^ the^rrt fetter of the word Oculo to have drop- 
ped firom the form when he happened to touch a line with his fin- 
ger, which did not stand sfraight ! He published another letter to do 
away the imputation of Ecchellensis ; but thirty years afterwards his 
rage agaonst the ne^^gent printer was not extinguished ^ the Wits 
were always reminding him of it. 

Of ail literary blunders none equalled that of the edition of the Yul- 
gate , by Sixtus T. His Holiness careftilly superintended every sheet 
» it passed through the press ; and , to the amazement of the world, 
the work remained withoutarival — it swarmed with errata ! A mul- 
titude' of scraps were printed to paste over the erroneous pas- 
sages, in order to give the true text. The book makes a whimsical 
appearance with these patches ; and ttie heretics exulted in this de- 
monstration of papal infoDibility ! The copies were called in, and vio- 
lent attempts niade to suppress it *, a few still remain for the raptures 
of (he biblical collectors ^ not long ago the bible of Sixtus Y . fetched 
above sixty guineas — not too much for a mere book of blunders ! 
The workl was highly amused at the bull of the editorial Pope pre- 
tied lo (he first volume , which excommunicates all printers who in 
reprinting the work should make any alteration in the text ! 

In (be version of ttie Epistles of St. Paul into Uie Etiiiopic lan- 
guage , which proved to be full of errors , the editors allege a good- 
taHnoored reason — " They who printed ttie work could not read , 
and we could not print -, they helped us , and we helped them , as the 
bind he^ the blind." 

A printer's widow in Germany, while a new edition of the Bible 
was printing at her house , one night took an opportunity of steal- 
ing into the office , to alter that sentence of subjection to her hus- 
band , pronounced upon Eve in Genesis , Chap. 3. v. 16. She took 
out ttie two first letters of the word Herr , and substituted Na in 
Q^ ptoce, thus altering the sentence from ^' and he shall be thy 
U)tD," (If err) to " and he shall be thy Fool," {Narr). It is 
sad her life paid for ttiis intentional erratum -, and that some se- 



oreled copies of this edition lia^e been bought up at eflormow 

We have an edition of the Bible, known by the name of The Vi- 
negar Bible; from the erratum in the title to the 20Ch Chap, of 
St. Luke, in whidi " Parable of the Vineyard;' is printed " Pftr- 
aUe of the Finegar.'' It was printed in 1717, at the Clarendon press. 
We haye had another, where ^^ Thou shalt conmiit adultery " was 
printed , omitting the negation ^ wh}ch occasioned the archbishop to 
lay one of the heayiest penalties on the Gompuiy of Stationers that was 
eyer recorded in the annals of literary history. 

Herbert Croft used to complain of the incorrectness of our Engtt^ 
classics , as reprinted by the booksellers. It is evident some stupid 
printer often changes a whole text intentionally. The fine description 
by Akenside of the Pantheon , ^^ severely great,'' not being un- 
derstood by the blockhead , was printed serenely great. Swift's own 
edition of ^' The City Shower," has ^' old aches throb." Aches is i 
two syllables , but modern printers , who had lost (he right pronun- 
ciation, have aches as one syllable -, and then, to complete the metre, 
have foisted in '' aches will throb." Thus ^hat the poet and the lin- 
guist wish to preserve is altered , and finally lost. 

It appears by a calculation made by the printer of Steevens's edi- 
tion of Shakspeare , that every octavo page of that work , text and i 
notes, contains 2680 distinct pieces of metal ] which in a sheet amount , 
to 42,880 — the misplacing of any one of which would inevitably ^ 
cause a blunder ! With this curious fact before us , the accurate stete , 
of our printing , in general , is to be admired, and errata ought more , 
flreely to be pardoned than the fastidious minuteness of the insect eye ^ 
of certain critics has allowed. 

Whether such a miracle as an immaculate edition of a classical ^ 
author does exist , I have never learnt ; but an attempt has been 
made to obtain this glorious singularity — and was as nearly realised 
as is perhaps possible in the magnificent edition of As Lusiadas of 
Camoens, by Don Jose Souza, in 1817. This amateur spared no 
prodigality of cost and labour, and flattered himself that by the as- 
sistance of Didot , not a singte typographical error should be found ' 
in that splendid volume. But an error was afterwards discoTered in , 
some of the copies , occasioned by one of the letters in the word 
Lusitano having got misplaced during the working of one of the ^ 
sheets. It must be confessed that this was an accident or mi^br- ^ 
tun^^ rather than an Erratum! 

One of the most remarkabte complaints on errata is that of Bdw. 
Leigh, appended to his curious treatise '^ on Religion and Learning.'' 
It consists of two folio pages , in a very minute character, and exhi- 
bits an incalculable number of printer's blunders. ^< We haye nol," 


tettjs, ^^PUmManor Sl^hemanongst us -, and it Ib no easy Is^ to 
specify the chiefest errata^ ftlse Merpunctioiis there are too many ; 
iierealetfer wanting, there a letter too much ; a syllable too much, 
€06 letter for ffiM>ther ^ words parted where they should be joined-, 
wards joined which ^lould be severed ; words misplaced *, chronolo- 
gioal mistidces , etc/' This unfortunate folio was printed in 1656. 
Are we to inS^ by such frequent complaints of tbe authors of that 
day, Ihal either titey did not reoeire prooft from the printers, or 
yuit&e printers nefer attmded to the corrected proofs ? Each single 
erratm seems to hive been (Sett as a stab to the literary foeUngsof 
the poor anrthor! 


Authors have top frequently received ill treatment , even from 
those to wlMna they dedicated their worlcs. 

Sooie who iielihurt at the shameless treatment of such mock M»- 
cenases have observed (hat no writer should dedicate his works but 
lo Ms noEiCDS; as was practised by the aiicients , who usuitty ad- 
dressed those who had soticited their labours, or anhnated their pro- 
gress. Theodosius Gaxa had no other recompense for having in- 
scribed Co Sixtos IV. his translation of the bock of AristoQe on the 
Nature of Animals , than the price of the binding , which this chari- 
Iriile flBther of the church munificently bestowed upon him. 

Theocritus fills his JdylUums with loud complaints of the neglect 
of his patrons-, and Tasso was as little successiU hi his dedications. 

Arioslo , in presenting his Orlando Furioso to Qie Cardinal d'Este, 
w» gratified with the bitter sarcasm of— ^^ Dwfe diwolo twete pi- 
gUato tarOe coglionerie?'' Where the devil have you found aU 
thig jMmsmise? 

When the French historian Duideix, whose pen was inched feN 
liie, presented his book to the Dnke d'Epemon, this Ateeenas, turn- 
ing to the T?ope'% Nuncio , who was present, very coarsely eiclaim- 
ed — ^^ Gadedis! ce Monsieur a un flux enrag^, il chie un livre 

l%cnuon,*fiie ardrat author of the SeafMMis, having extrava- 
gawtt y praised a person of rank, who afterwards appeared to be 
uodeserviBg of euiogiums, properly emi^yed his p«i in a so- 
lanm leeaBtatioD of his error. A very different conduct from that 
oTDiqileix, who alvrays spoke highly of Queen Margaret of France 
for a litlie plaoe he held in her household : but after her death , 
when iSbe place became extinct , spoke of her iritti all the freedom 
of satire. Such is too often the character of some of ttie Utarati, 
ooiy dare to reveiJ the trutti when they have no hiterest to 


Poor Mickle , to whom we are indebted (br so beautiftil a iFer- 
sion of Camoens' Lusiad , having dedicated this work , the conti- 
nued labour of five years , to the Duke of Bucclmigh , had the 
mortification to find , by the discovery of a friend , that he had 
kept it in his possession three weeks before he could collect suffi- 
cient intellectual desire to cut open the pages ! The neglect of this 
nobleman reduced the poet to a state of despondency. This patrcm 
was a political economist, the pupil of Adam Smith ! It is pleasing 
to add , in contrast vrith this frigid Scotch patron , that when 
Mickle went to Lisbon, where his translation had long prepeded his 
visit , he found the Prince of Portugal waiting on the quay to be 
first to receive the translator of his great national poem ; and dur- 
ing a residence of six months , Mickle was warmly regarded by 
every Portuguese nobleman. 

" Every man beheves," writes Dr. Johnson , to Baretti , " that 
mistresses are unfaithful , and patrons are capricious. But he ex- 
cepts his own mistress , and his own patron.^' 

A patron is sometimes oddly obtained. Benserade attached him- 
self to cardinal Mazarine ^ but his Mendship produced nothing but 
civility. The poet every day indulged his easy and charming vein 
of amatory and panegyrical poetry, while all the woild read and 
admired his verses. One evening the cardinal, in conversation 
with the king , described his mode of life when at the papal court. 
He loved the sciences ^ but his chief occupation was the belles let- 
tres , composing little pieces of poetry ; he said that he was then 
in the court of Rome what Benserade was now in that of France. 
Some hours afterwards the friends of the poet related to him the 
conversation of the cardinal. He quilted them abruptly, and ran 
to the apartment of his eminence , knocking with all his force , 
that he might be certain of being heard. The cardinal had just 
gone to bed; but he incessantly clamoured, demanding entrance^ 
they were compelled to open the door. He ran to his eminence , 
fell upon his knees , almost pulled off the sheets of the bed in 
rapture, imploring a thousand pardons for thus disturbing him; 
but such was his joy in what he had just heard , which he repeat- 
ed , that he could not refrain from immediately giving vent to his 
gratitude and his pride, to have been compared with his emi- 
nence for his poetical talents ! Had the door not been inunediatdy 
opened , he should have expired ; he was not rich , it is true , 
but he should now die contented ! The cardinal was pleased with 
his ardour y and probably never suspected his yZotteiy; and the 
next week our new actor was pensioned. 

On Cardinal Richelieu, another of his patrons, he gratefully 
made this epitaph :— 



C3rg»t,«ijgi8t,parUmortMeo, 11^ ^,c ^ ^*'^*''^ ! / * - 
LeCvdimadeRicheliea, ^*^ u,n^ ^^^ " \^' 

£t 06 qui oaiue moo ennny ji/ ^^"^^ \tj'J * ^'^'^^ \ 

Ma p^xsioir arec loi. thu.*' Ik ^^ v 

Here liet, egad, 'tuTery true! ' .^ ^ A-^^*" 

The iUofttarioas Cardinal Richelieu : (Wi^ U^ ^'' ^ ^ i ' 

My grief is gemiine — ^roid of whim ! ^ 
Alas! my pension lies with him ! 

Le Bran, the great French. artist, paiDted hhnself hotding in 
his hand the portrait of his earliest patron. In this accompaniment 
Le Bran may be said to have portrayed tlie features of tiis soul. If 
genius has too oDen conq)laine^ of its patrons , has it not also 
ofleo oTer-talued their protection? 


Accident'equenQy occasioned the most eminent geniuses 
to di^y their powers. '*' It was at Rome'' says Gibbon , '^ on the 
15th of October, 1764 , as I sat musing amidst the ruins of the Ca- 
pilol , while the bare-footed fjriars were singing vespers in the Tem- 
ple of Jupiter, Chat the idea of writing the decline and fall of the 
City first started to my mind.'' 

Father Malebranche having completed his studies in philosophy 
and theology without any other intention than devoting himself to 
some religious order, little expected the celebrity his works acquir- 
ed for him. Loitering in an idle hour in the shop of a bookseller, 
and turning over a parcel of book& , L' Homme de Descartes fell 
into his hands. Having dipt into parts , he read with such delight. 
Quit the palpitations of his heart compelled him to lay the volume 
down. It was this circumstance that [Nroduced those profound con- 
lempl^ions which made him the Plato of his age. 

Cowley became a poet by accident. In his mother's apartment 
be fowd , when very young 9 Spenser's Fairy Queen ^ and , by a 
cootinual study of poetry, he became so enchimted by the Muse , 
that he grew irrecoverably a poet. 

Sir Joshua Reynolds had the first fondness for his art excited 
iff the perusal of Richardson's Treatise. 

Yancanson displayed an uncommon genius for mechanics. His 
taste was first determined by an accident : when young , he fre- 
cpienOy attended his mother to the residence of her confessor; and 
while she wept with repentance , he wept with weariness ! In this 
slate of desigreeaUe vacation, says Helvetius, he was struck with 
the uniform motion of the pendulum of the clock in the haU. His 


curiosity was roused ; he approached the dock case, and studied 
its mechanism ; what he could not discover, he guessed at. He 
them projected a similar machine ; and gradually his genius produ- 
ced a clock. Encouraged by this first success , he proceeded in his 
various attempts ^ and the genius, which thus could form a clock , 
in time formed a fluting automaton. 

^^ Accident determined the taste of Moli^re for the stage. His 
grandfother loved the theatre, and frequently carried tim there. 
The young man lived in dissipation-: the father observing it , asked 
ki anger, if his son was to be noade an actor. ^ Would to God ,' re- 
plied the grandfiither , ' he were as good an actor as Montrose.^ 
The words struck young Moli^re ^ he took a disgust to his tapes^ 
try trade ^ and it is to this circumstance France owes her greatest 
comic writer." 

^^CSomeille loved^ he made verses for Ms mistress, became a 
poet , composed Melite, and afterwards his other celebrated works. 
The discreet Gomeill&had remained a lawyer." 

We owe the great discovery of Newton to a very trivial accident. 
When a student at CanAridge , he had retured during the time of 
the plague into the country. As he was reading under an apple- 
tree , one of the fruit fell , and struck him a smart blow on the 
head. When he observed the smallness of the apple , he was sur* 
prised at the force of the stroke. This led him to consider the acce- 
lerating motion of falling bodies; fh)m whence he deduced the 
principle of gravity, and laid the foundation of hi? philosophy. 

Ignatius Loyola was a Spanish gentleman , who was dangerously 
wounded at the siege of Pampeluna. Having healed his imagination 
by reading the Lives of the Saints , which were brought to him in 
his illness , instead of a romance , he conceived a strong ambition 
to be the founder of a religious order : whence originated the oe^ 
lebrated society of the Jesuits. 

Rousseau found his eccentric powers fh*st awakened by the adver- 
tisement of the singular annual subject which the academy of Dijoa 
proposed for that year, in which he wrote his celebrated Declamation 
against the arts and sciences : a circumstance which decided his Aituro 
literary efforts. 

La Fontaine, at the age of twenty-two , had not taken any pro- 
fession , or devoted himsdf to any pursuit. Having accidentally 
heard some verses of Malherbe , he felt a sudden impulse , which 
dhrected his fhture life. He immediately bought a Malherbe, and 
was so exquisitely delighted with this poet, that after passing the 
nights in treasuring his verses in his memory, he would run in (he 
day-time to the woods , where-concealing himself, he would recite 
Ut verses to the surrounding dryads. 

filADE BT ACaDEMT. 71 

Fteoisleed vas an astrofiomer bj aecMoit. He was lakea from 
school on account of his illness, when Sacrobosco's bock de Sphcrft 
baTing been lent to him , iie was so pleased with it , that he im- 
mediately began a course of astronomic studies. Pennant's first 
pn^nsitj to natural history was the (Measure he received from 
an accidental perusal of Willoughby's work on birds : the same 
accident , of finding on (he table of his professor , Reaumur's His- 
tory of Insects, of which be read, more than he attended to the 
lecture , and having been refhsed the loan , gave such an instant 
turn to the mind of Bonnet , that be hastened to obtain a copy ; 
aHer many- difficulties in procuring this costly work , its posses- 
sion gave an unalterable direction to his Aiture life. This naturalist 
indeed lost tbe use of his sight by his devotion to the microscope. 

Dr. Franklin attributes the cast of his genius to a similar acci- 
dent. ^^ I found a work of De Foe's , entitled an ^ Essay on Pro- 
jects,' from which perhaps I derived impressions that have since 
influenced some of the principal events of my life." 

I shaH add the incident which occasioned Roger Ascham to write 
his Schoolmaster^ one of the few works among our eUer vmfers , 
which we still read with pleasure. 

At a dinner given by Sir William Cecil, at ^s apartments at 
Windsor, a nunyb^ oi taigenious mm were invited. Secretary Cecil 
cooimunicated the news of the morning, that several scholars at 
Eton had run away on account of their master's severity, which he 
ooodemaed as a great error in tbejMlacatioo of youtti. Sir William 
Petre maintained tbe ocmtrary ; severe in his own temper, he plead- 
ed wvmly in defence of bard flogging. . Br. Wootton , in softer 
tones, sided with the Secretary. ^ John Mason, adopting no side, 
banMed both. Mr. Haddon seconded the luffd-hearted Sir William 
Pebe, and i^dduced, as an evidence, ttiat the best schoolmaster then 
in Ei^^ltfMl was tbe hardest llogger. Then was it that Roger Ascham 
indignantly exclaimed, that if such a master had an afile scholar it 
was owing to the boy's genius, and not the preceptor's rod. Secre- 
tary Cecil and others were pleased with Ascham's notions. Sir Rich- 
ard Saekville was silent , but when Ascham stfler dinner went to 
the queen to read one of the orations of Demosthenes , he took him 
tMe , and frankly toM him that though he had taken no part in the 
debate, he wouM not have been absent from that conversation for a 
great deal ; Qiat he knew to his cost the truth that Ascham had sup- 
ported; for it was the perpetual flogging of such a school-master 
that bid given him an unconquerable aversion to study. And as he 
wished to remedy this defect in his own children, he earnestly ex- 
horted Ascham to write his observatioBs on so interesting a topic. 


Such was the circumstance which produced the admirafde treatise 
of Roger Ascham. 


Singular inequalities are observable in the labours of genius ; 
and parlkularh h\ Liiose which admit great enthusiasm, as in 
poetry, in painting, iukI in music. Faultless mediocrity industry can 
preserve in one conlinued degree ; but excellence, the daring and 
Iho happy, can only bit attained, by human faculties, by slarls. 

Our piwis who possess the greatest genius, with, perhaps, the 
least industry, have a( tiie same time the most splendid and the worst 
passages of poetry. Shakspeare and Dry den are at once the greatest 
and the least of our poets. With some, their great fault consists in 
having none. 

Garraccio sarcastically said of Tintoret — Ho veduto il Tintoretto 
hora eguale a Titiano, hora minora del TintoreUo—^^ I have 
seen Tintoret now equal to Titian, and now less than Tintoret." 

Trublet justly observes — ^The mbre there are beauties , and 
great beauties, in a work, I am the less surprised to ^n^ faults^ 
and great faults. When you say t)f a work — ^that il has many fauHs; 
that decides nothing : and I do not know by this , whether it is exe- 
crable , or excellent. You tell me of another — that it is Without any 
faults : if your account be just, it is certain the work cannot be 

It was observed of one pleader, that he Anew more than he said ; 
and of another, that he said more than he Anew. 

Lucian happily describes the works of those who abound with 
the most luxuriant language , void of ideas. He calls their unmean- 
ing verbosity " anemony-words ;" for anemonies are flowers , which, 
however brilliant, only please the eye, leaving no fragrance. Pratt , 
who was a writer of flowing , but nugatory verses, was compared to 
the daisy i a flower indeed , common enough and without odour. 


'^ There are many sciences, says Menage, on which we cannot, 
indeed , compose in a florid or elegant diction — such as geography, 
music, algebra, geometry, etc." When Atticus requested Cicero to 
write on geography, the latter excused himself, observing, that its 
scenes were more adapted to please the eye than susceptible of the 
embellishment of style. However, in these kinds of sciences, we 
may lend an ornament to their dryness by introducing occasionally 
some elegant allusion, or noticing some incident suggested by the 


Thtts irtiea we notice some ineonsiderable place , for instance, 
Woodstock, we may recall attention to the residence of Chaucer y 
(be parent or our poetry, or the romantic labyrinth of Rosamond ; 
or as in ^^ an Autumn on the Rhine ,"at Ingelheim, at the view of an 
old palace built by Charlemagne, the traveller adds , with '^ a hun- 
dred colonins brought fhnn.Rome,'' and ftirther it was '' the scene 
of the romantic amours of that monarch's fair daughter, If)ertha, 
with Evinhard, his secretary ;'' and viewing the Gothic ruins on 
the banks of the Rhine , he noticed them as having been the haunts 
of those illustrious chev^aliers ^voleurs , whose chivalry consisted in 
[MHaging the merchants and towns , till, in the thirteenth century , 
a citizen of Mayence persuaded the merchants of more than a hun- 
dred towns to fbHn a league against these little princes and counts ; 
the origin of the famous Hanseatic league , which contrilmted so 
much to the commerce of Europe. This kind of erudition gives an 
interest to topography by associating in our memory great events 
and personages with the localities. 

The same principle of composition may be^^arried with the hap- 
piest effect Into some dry investigations, though the profound anti-« 
quary may not approve of these sports of wit or fancy. Dr. Arbuth- 
not, in his Tables of Ancient Coins, Weights , and Measures , a 
topic extremely barren of amusement , takes every opportunity of 
eidivening the dulness of his task ; even in these mathematical cal- 
cttlatiOBS he betrftys his wit; and observes, theft '' the polite Au- 
gustus , the Emperor of the World , had neither any glass in liis 
windows, nor a shirt to his back ! '' Those uses of glass and linen 
indeed were not known in his tune. Our physician is not less curious 
and focetious in the account of the^Se^ which the Roman physicians 


Those ecclesiastical histories entitled Legends are said to have 
originated in the foUowing. circumstance. 

Before colleges woe established in the monasteries where the 
selioois were held , the professors in rhetoric frequently gave their 
pofHls Qie life of some saint for a trial of their talent at ampUfica' 
tian. The students, at a loss to furnish out their pages , invented 
most of Oiese wonderfU advenhires. Jortin observes, that the Christ- 
ians used to collect out of Ovid, Livy and other pagan poets and 
historians , the miracles and portents to be found there , and accom- 
nodaled them to their own monks and saints. The good fathers of 
that age, whose stmi^city was not inferior to ttieir devotion were 
so d^fghted vrith these flowers of rhetoric, that they were induced 
to make a collection of these miraculous compositions \ not imagi- 


nfog ifaat, al some dManl p^od, they woiAl beooiBe matt^^ of 
faith. Yet, when Junes de Yoraglne, Peter NadflA, aad Peier Riba- 
deneira, wrote the Ufes of the Saints , they sought for their amle-' 
riab in the libraries of the monasteries ; and, awakening from Vbe 
dust these manuscripts of amplification , imagined they made an 
invaluable present to the world , by laying before them these vohi- 
minous absurdities. The people receiyed these ihous fictions with 
all imaginable sim(4icity, and as these are adcfned by a numb^ of 
cuts, the miracles were perfectly inteliigible to their eyes. Title- 
mont, Floury, Bailiet, Launoi, and Bollandus , cleared away much 
of the rubbishy the enviable title of Golden Legend, by which 
James de Yoragine called Ms work, has been disputed; iron or 
lead might more aptly descfflbe its character. 

When the world began lo be more critical in their reading , the 
monks gave a graver turn to their narratives; and became penu- 
rious of their absurdities. The faithfid Catholic contends , that the 
line of tradition has been preserved umbrokeo ; notwithstanding 
that the originals were lost in the general wreck of literature firom 
4he barbarians , or came down in a most imperfect state. 

Baronius has given the lives of many apocryphid saints ; for in- 
stance, of a Saint Xinoris, whom he calb a martyr of Antioch ; bul 
it appears that Baronius having read in Ghrysostom this word^ which 
signifies a couple or pair, he mistook it for the name of a saint , 
and contrived to give the most authentic biography of a saint who 
never existed ! The Catholics confess this sort of blunder is not un- 
common , but then it is only fools who laugh! As a specimen of the 
happier inventions , one is given , embellished by the diction oC Gib- 

'' Among the insipid legends of ecclesiastical history, I am tempt- 
ed to distinguish the memorable fable of the Sa^en Sleepers ^ 
whose imaginary date corresponds with the reign of the younger 
Theodosins , and the conquest of Affrioa by the Vandals. When the 
Emperor Decius persecuted the Christians, seven noUe youths of 
Ephesus concealed themselves in a spacious cavern on the side of 
an adjacent mountain ; where they were doomed to perish by tho 
tyrant, who gave orders that the entrance should be firmly secured 
with a pile of stones. They immediatdy feU into a deep dumber, 
which was miraculously prolonged without injuring the powerg <tf 
Ufe, during a period of one hundred and eighty-seven years. At the 
end of that time the slaves of Adolius , to whom the inheritance of the 
mountain had descended, removed the stones to supply maleriiils 
f(Mr some rustic edifice. The light of the sun darted mto the oavem , 
and the Seven Sleepers were permitted to awake. After a shunber 
as they thought of a few hours , they were pressed by the eaSs tsC 


bttBger^ MdTeoQlTed ttnt JamUiclrotf ^ one of their nmnber, sbouM 
feerefijr retorn to the clly to purchase bread for the use of his oodh 
pmioiis. The youth , if we may stiU emi^oy that appeUatioo , cooM 
BO longer reeognise the once funiliar aspect of his natiTecoantry; 
aid his gurprise wa^ increased by the appearance of a large cross^ 
trimnpfeuifly erected oter the principd gate of Ephesus. His sfai* 
gitar dress «id obsolete language confounded the baker, to whom 
tie offered an ancient medal of Decius as the ciurent coin of the 
onpire; and Jamblichus, on the suspicion of a secret treasure , was 
In^ged befim the Judge. Their nratual inquiries produced the 
anaziiig diseofery, that tWo centuries were ahnost elapsed since 
innbH^as and his fHends had escaped from Uie rage of a Pagan 
tyrant. The bi^bop of Ephesus, the clergy, the magistrates, the 
pecple , and, it is said , the Emperor Theodosius himself, hastened 
to YiMt thie caTem of the Seven Sleepers ^ who bestowed their bene^ 
fiction, rdaled theh* story, and at the same instant peacedUy 

^^Thispopuhir tale Mahomet learned when he drove his camels 
to the fairs of Syria^ and he has introduced it, as a diyine reye- 
laium, into flie Koran."— The same story has been adopted and 
adorned, by the nations flrom Bengal to AfHca, who profess the 
Bbhometan religion. 

The loo curious reader may perhaps require other specimens of 
the BQore unlucky inventions of this '^ Gulden Legend ;" as charac*^ 
Icfistic of a certain class of minds , the pMlosopher will not contemn 
flKse grotesque ictions. 

These monks imagined that holiness was often proportioned to 
a saftnfs ffltl^ness. St. Ignatius , say they, delighted to appear abroad 
wUh old dirty shoes ^ he never used a comb , but let his hair clot; 
and religiously abstained from paring his nails. One saint attained 
losiieh piety as to have near three hundred patches on his breeches ; 
wideh, after l^ death , were hung up in pubhc as an incenti^ t» 
tmoation. St. Francis discovered by certain experience that the 
devils were frightened away by such^ind of breeches, but were 
ammaled fay clean clothing to tempt and seduce the wearers; and 
one of their heroes declares that the purest souls are in the dirtiest 
bodies. On this they tell a story which may not be very agreeable 
lo tetidious delicacy. Brother Juniper was a gentleman perfectly 
pious on this principle; indeed so great was his merit in this species 
of nortification , that a brother declared he could always nose l%x>- 
ther Jumper when#ittiin a mile of the monastery, provided the 
wind was at the due point. Once , when the blessed Juniper, for he 
ym DO saint , was a guest , his host , proud of the honour of enter- 
liliiiBg so pious a personage, the intimate friend of St. Francis, pro* 


vlded an excellent bed , and the finest sheets. Brother Juniper ab- 
horred such luxury. And this too eyidenUr appeared after his sudden 
departure in the morning , unknown to his kind b^st. The great 
Juniper did this, says his biographer, haying UM us what he did, 
not so much flrom his habitiMi inclinations , for which he was so 
justly celebrated, as from his excessive piety, and as much as he 
could to mortifir worldly pride , and to show how a true saint des- 
pised clean sheets. 

In the life of St. Francis we find , among other -grotesque mira- 
cles, that he preached a sermon in a desert, but he soon collected 
an immense audience. The birds shrilly warbled to every sentence, 
and stretched out their necks, opened their beaks, and when he 
finished, dispersed with a holy rapture into four companies , to 
report his sermon to all the binds in the universe. A grassh(^[iper 
remained a week with St. Francis during the absence of the Virgin 
Mary, and pittered on his head. He grew so companionable with a 
nightingale , that when a nest of swallows began to babble^ he hushed 
them by desiring ttiem not to tittle-tattle of their sister, the nightin- 
gale. Attacked by a wolf, with only the sign manual of the cross , he 
held a long dialogue with his rabid assailant , tiU the wolf, meek as a 
lap-dog , stretched his paws in the hands of the saint , followed him 
through towns , ,and became half a Christian. 

This same St. Francis had such a detestation of the good things of 
this world , that he would never suffer his followers to touch money. 
A firiar having placed in a window some money c(dlected at Ibe 
altar, he desired him to take it in his mouth, and throw it on the 
dung of an ass ! St. Philip Nerius was such a huer of poverty, that 
he frequently prayed that God would bring him to that state as to 
stand in need of a penny, and find nobody Uiat would give him one! 

But St. Macaire was so shocked at having hilled a louse , that 
he endured seven years of penitence among the thorns and briars 
of a forest. A circumstance which seems to have reached Moli^re , 
who gives this stroke to the character of his Tarluffe :— 

n s* impute a peche Ir moindre bagatelle^ 
Josqnes-lii qu*il s'ea rint, I'autre jour s*accuser 
D*avoir pris one puce en faisant m pri^, 
£t de raroir tuee , arec trop de colere ! 

I gave a miraculous incident respecting two pious maidens. The 
night of the Nativity of Ghpst , after the first mass , they both retired 
into a solitary spot of their nunnery till the seMpd mass was run^. 
One asked the other, ^^ Why do you want two cushions, whea I 
have only one?" The other replied, '^I would place it between us, 
for the child Jesus; as the Evangelist says, where there are two 


or tiiroe persons assembled I am in the midst of them/'— This being 
done, they sat down, feeling a most livelr {Measure at their fancy, 
ttid there they remaiqed (tom the Nativity of Christ to that of John 
tlie Baptist^ but ttiis greatjnterval of time passed with these saintly 
maidens as two hours would appear to others. The abbess and her 
Dims were alarmed at their absence , for no one could give any ac- 
cotnt of them. In the eye of St. John , a cowherd , passing by them , 
behdd a beautiiiil child seated on a cushion between this pair of 
nm-away nuns. He hastened to the abbess with news of these stray 
sheep, who saw this lovely child playftilly seated i)etween these 
Dymphs, who, with blushing countepances, inquired if the second 
Ml had already rung? Both parties were equally astonished to find 
our joung devotees had been there ftom the Nativity of Jesus to 
that of St. John. The abbess asked after the child who sat between 
th^m ; they solemnly declared they saw no child t^etween them , and 
^a^atod in their story. 

Such is one of these miracles of ^Uhe Golden Legend,'' which a 
wicked wit might comment on, and see nothing extraordinary in 
the whole story. The two nuns might be missing between the Nati- 
vities, and be found at the last with a child seated between them. 
—They might not chose to account either for their absence or their 
chiki— the only touch of miracle is , that Ihey asseverated , they saw 
no child — that I confess is a litde (child) too much. 

The lives of the saints by Alban Butler is the most sensible his- 
tory of these legends^ Ribadenaira's lives of the saints exhibit more 
of the legendary spirit, for wanting judgment and not faith, he is 
more voluminous in his details. The antiquary may collect much 
curious philosophical information, concerning the manners of the 
times, firom these singular narratives. 


Every lover of letters has heard of this learned society, which 
contributed so greaUy to France a taste for just reason- .-/^ 
iog, simplicity of style, and phUosophical method. Their " Logic^^^ 
or the Art of Thinking ," for its lucid , accurate and diversified mat- - ^ ^^ 
ter, is still an admirable work notwithstanding the writers at that . ^ i 
time had to emancipate themselves from the barbarism of the scho- j' 
lastic logic. It was the conjoint labour of Arnauld and Nicolle. Eu- 
rope has benefited by the labours of these learned men : but not 
many have attended to the origin and dissolution of this literary 

In the year 1637, Le Maitre , a celebrated advocate , resigned the 
bar, and the honour of being ConseiUer d*£tat , which his uncom- 


mon merit had obtained hfin, ttUNlgh then oidi twenty-eight years 
of age. His f>rother, De Sericourt, who had fottowed the mimary 
profession , quitted it at the time. Consecrating Qiemsdyes to the 
service of God, they retired into a smatt house near the PorlRoyiU 
of Paris, where they were joined by their brothers De Saey, De 
St Ehne, andDeValmont. Amauld, one of their most ittoBtrioM 
associates, was induced to enter into the Jansenist controversy, and 
then it was that they encountered the powerftd persecution of the 
Jesuits. Constrained to remove fhMn that spot, Oiey fixed their reiid- 
enee at a few leagues flNMn Paris, and called it Port Rqyal des 

With these ilhistrious recluses many distinguished persons ninr 
retired, who had given qp their parks and houses to be appro* 
priated to their schools ; and this community was called the «So^ 
cietf of PortrRoyal. 

Here were no rules, no vows, no constitution, and no cells 
formed. Prayer and study, and manual labo\ir, were their only oc- 
cupations. They applied themselves to the education of youth, and 
raised up litUe academies in the neighbourhood, where the mem* 
bers of Port-Royal , the most illustrious names of literary France , 
presided. None considered his birth entitted him to any exemption 
from their public offices, relieving the poor and attending on tbe 
sick, and employing themselves in their forms and gardens; they 
were carpenters, ploughmen, gardeners, and vine-dressers, as if 
they had practised nothing etee; they studied physic, and surgery, 
and law, in truth , it seems ttiat fh)m religious motives , these 
learned men attempted to form a community of primitive Quis- 

The Duchess of Longueville , once a political chief, sacrificed 
her ambition on the altar of Port-Royal , enlarged the monastic 
inclosure with spacious gardens and orchards , built a noble house , 
and often retreated to its seclusion. The learned D'Andilly, the 
translator of Josephus, after his studious hours, resorted to the 
cultivation of fhift-trees; and ttie fhiit of Port-Royal became cele- 
brated for its size and flavour. Presents were sent to the Queen- 
Mother of France, Anne of Austria, and Cardinal Mazarine, who 
used to call it ^' Fruit b«ni." It appears that '' families of rank, af- 
fluence, and piety, who did not wish entirely to give up their 
avocations in the world , buiU Uiemselves country-houses in ttie 
valley of Port-Royal, in order to eijoy the society of its religious 
and literary inhabitants.'' 

In the solitudes of Port-Royal Racine received his education ; 
and, on his death-bed, desired to be buried in its cemetery, at 
the feet of his master Hamon Amauld, persecuted, and dying in 


a fonigD eoeotry, still cast litg lingering looks on this bdbi^ 
ralmil^ and Ml the soei^ his heart , which was there intimed. 

iooe de Boutbcm, a j^ncen of the Mood-royal, erected a 
koose near the Pori-Royal , and was, during her fife , the power- 
M pahtmesa of these solitary and religious men : but her death , 
ia 1679, was the fatal stroke yAMst dispersed tbem for eter. 

The enry md ttie fioars of the Jesuits, and their rancour ago^nst 
AnuMrid, who with such ability had exposed their designs, occa- 
sioned the destruction of (he Port-Royal Society. Exinaniie, exi- 
nanke usque ad /iindamentum in *ea! — ^Annihilate it , annihilate 
it, lo its yery ftmndatlons ! Such are the terms of the Jesuitic decree. 
The Jesuits had long called the littte schools of Port-Roysd the hot- 
beds of heresy. The Jesuits obtained by their intrigues an order 
from goiemmenf to dissolye that tirtuous society. They razed the 
Mldnigs , and plougiied up the very foundation *, they exhausted 
Iheir hatred even on the stones , and profaned eren the sanctuary 
of (he dead ; the corpses were torn out of their graves , and dogs 
were suffered to contend for the rags of their shrouds. The memory 
of fliat asyhira of innocence and learning was still kepi alive by 
Qiose who collected the engravings representing the place by Ma- 
demoiselie Horlemels. The police, under Jesuitic influence, at 
leDgth seiaed on (he plales in (he cabinet of the ftiir artist. — 
Caustic was the retort courteous which AmauM gave the Jesuits. 
—"I do not fear your pen, but its knife.'^ 

These were men whom the love of reiiremeni had united to cul- 
ihrate literature , in the midst of solitude, of peace , and of piety. 
Aifte oeeu|»ed on sacred, as well as on profone writers, their 
writiDgs fixed tlie French language. The example of these solitaries 
ihow how retirement is bvourable to penetrate into the sanctuary 
of (he Moses. 

An interesting anecdote is related of Arnauld on the occasion of 
(he teolution of this society. The dispersion of these great men , 
and their young scholars , was lamented by every one but their 
enemies. Muiy persons of ttie highest rank participated in their 
mrraws. The exceUenl Amauhi, in that moment, was as closely 
pv»Hd as if he had been a fdon. 

It WIS then the Duchess pf Longueville concealed Arnauld in 
n obscure lodging , who assumed the dress of a layman , wear- 
iag a sword and ftill-bottomed wig. Arnauld was attacked by a fever, 
and in file coarse of conversation vnth his physician , Arnauld in» 
qaited after news. " They talk of a new book of the Port-Royal," 
lepliei the doctor, ^^ ascribed to Arnauld or to Sacy -, but I do not 
hiicve it comes from Sacy, he does not write so well." — " How, 
sir!" exdaimed (be philosopher, forgetting his sword and wig; 


*^ believe me my nephew writes better than I do.'' — ^The phyBi-* 
cian eyed his patient with amazement — ^he the duchess, 
and told her, '*' The malady of the gentleman you sent me to is 
not very serious, provided you do not suffer him to see any one , 
and insist on his holding his tongue/' The duchess, alarmed, im- 
mediately had Arnauld conveyed to her palace. She concealed him 
in an apartment, and persisted to attend him herself. — '^Ask/' 
she said, ^^ what you want of the servant, but it shall be myself 
who shall bring it to you." 

How honourable is it to the female character, that, in all si- 
milar events , their fortitude is equal to their sensibility ! But the 
Duchess of Longueville saw in Arnauld a model of human fortitude 
which martyrs never excelled. His remarkable reply to Nicole , 
when they were hunted from place to place , should never be for- 
gotten : Arnauld wished Nicole to assist him in a new work , when 
the latter observed, ^^We are now. old, is it not time to rest?'' 
" Rest ! " returned Arnauld , " have we not all eternity to rest in? " 
The whole of the Arnauld family were the most extraordinary in- 
stance of that hereditary character which is continiied through cer- 
tain families : here it was a sublime, and, perhaps , singular union 
of learning with religion. The AmaUlds, Sacy, Pascal, TillenKmt, 
with other illustrious names , to whom literary Europe will owe 
perpetual obligations , combined the life of thie monastery with that 
of the library. 


Of tbe pleasures derivable from the cultivation of the arts, scien- 
ces, and liloratiire , timo will not abate the growing passion ; for 
old men siiil cherish an ^ilTeclion and feel a youthful enthusiasm in 
those piir^uil^ ^ Mlien utl others have ceased to interest. Dr. Reid, 
to his last day, retained almost active curiosity in his various stu- 
dies, and particularly in the revolutions of modern chemistry. In 
advanced life we may resume our former studies with a new plea- 
sure , and in old age we may enjoy them with the same relish with 
which more youthful students commence. Professor Dugald Stewart 
tells us that Adam Smith observed to him , that ^^ of all the amuse- 
ments of old age, the most grateful ^nd soothing is a renewal of 
acquaintance with the favourite studies and favourite auttiors of 
youth — a remark, which, in his own case, seemed to be more 
particularly exemplified while he was re-perusing, with the enthu- 
siasm of a student, the tragic poets of ancient Greece. I have heard 
him repeat the observation more than once while Sophocles and 
Euripides lay open on his table.'' 

Socrates learnt to play on musical instruments in his old age ^ 


Cyo, at eighlT, thought proper to learn Greek; and nutarch, al- 
most as late in his life, Latin. • 

Theophrastas began his admiraBle work on the Characters of Men 
alte extreme age of ninety. He only fenninated his literary labours 
b; his death. 

Ronsard, one of the bthers of French poetry, applied himself 
bile to study. Mis acute genius , and ardent application, riyalled 
ime poetic qhnMs which he admired ; and Boccaccio was thirty- 
fire yevs of age when he commenced his studies in polite litc- 

The great Amauld retained the ylgour of his genius , and the 
coBnand of his pen, to his last day ; and at the age of eighty-two 
was sal the great AroauM* 

Sbr Henry Spehnan neglected the sciences in his youth, but cul- 
tiialed ftem at fifty years of age , and produced good fruit. Bis early 
years were chiefiy passed in fanning, which greatly diverted him 
from his studies ; but a remarkable disappointment respecting a con- 
tested estate disgusted him with these rustic occupations-, resolted 
to attach hhnaeif to regular studies, and literary society, he sold his 
Cmns, and became the most learned antiquary and lawyer^ 

Gottert, the fnnous fVench minister, ahnost at siity, returned to 
his Latin and law studies. 

Dr. Johnson applied himself to the Dutch language but a few 
years before his deatti. The Marquis de Saint Aulaire , at the age 
of seventy, began to court the Muses, and they crowned him with 
their freshest flowers. The verses of this French Anacreon are full of 
fire, delicacy, and sweetness. 

Chaneer's Canterbury Tales were the composition of his latest 
years : they were begun in his fifty-fourth year, and finished in his 

LudoTico Monaldesco , at the extraordinary age of 115 , wrote the 
memoirs of his times. A singular exertion, noticed by Yollaire, 
who himself is one of the most remarkable instances of the progress 
of age in new studies. 

The most d^ghtfol of auto-biographies for artists is th jt of Ben- 
venulo Cellini^ a work of great origiiudity, which was not begun tUl 
'^ fSbe dock of his age had struck fifty-eight.'' 

Kocnmhert began at forty to learn the Latin and Greek languages, 
of which he became a master; several students, who afterwards 
distiDgaished themselves, have commenced as late in life their lite- 
rvy pursuits. (H^ilby, the translator of Homer and Virgil, knew 
tittle of Latin or Greek till he was past fifty ; and Franklin's philo- 
sophical pursuits began when he had nearly reached his fiftieth year. 

Accorso, a great lawyer, being asked why he began the study of 



the law so late, answered , that indeed he began it late, but should 
therefore master It th^ooner. 

Dryden's complete works form the largest body of poetry from 

\ the pen of one writer in the English language ^ yethe gaye no public 

testimony of poetic abilities till his twenty-seyenth fear. In his sbcty- 

eighth year he proposed to translate the whole Iliad : and his most 

pleasing productions were written in his old age. 

Michael Angelo presenrecl^his creatiye genius even in extreme old 
age : there is a device said^to be invented by him, of an old roan 
represented in a go^art, with an hour-glass upon it \ the inscription 
Ancora imparol — ^Yet I am learning! 

We have a literary curiosity in a favourite treatise with Erasmus 
and men o^ letters of that period , De Ratione Studii, by Joachim 
Slerck , otherwise Fortius de Rhingelberg. The enthusiasm of ihe 
writer often carries him to the verge of ridicule ; but something must 
be granted to his peculiar situation and feelings ; for Baillet tells us 
that this method of studying had been formed entirely fh)m his own 
practical knowledge and hard experience : at a late period of life he 
commenced his studies , and at length he imagined that he had dis- 
covered a more perpendicular mode of ascending the hill of science 
than by its usual circuitous windings. His work has been conq)ared 
to the sounding of a trumpet. 

Menage, in his Anti-Baillet,hasavery curious apology for writing 
verses in his did age, by showing how many poets amused 
themselves notwithstanding their grey hairs, and wrote soimols or 
epigrams at ninety. 

La Casa , in one of his letters , humourously said , lo credo ch'io 
faro Sonnetto venti cinque anni, o trerUa, poi che io sara 
morto. I think I may make sonnets twenty^ve, or perhaps Ihiriy 
years, after I shall be dead! Petau tells us that he wrote verses to 
solace the evils of old age — 

— — — — Petavius »ger 
CaDtabat veterU quaerens solatia morbi. 

Malherbe declares the honours of genius were his , yet young — 

Je left pots^dai jenne, et les postMe cucore 
A la fin de nies joon ! 


Pbre Bouhours observes , that the Spanish poets display an 
extravagant imagination , which is by no means destitute ot esprit — 
shall we say wit? but which evinces little taste or judgment. 

Their verses are much in tbestyle of our Cowley — trivial points 


iMnstroQft metaphors , and qaakit conceits. It is evident that tiie 
Sjpmsh poets imported this taste iVom the time of Marino in Itcdy ; 
bat the wamrtti of the Spanish chmate appears to have redoobled it , 
mi to have blown the Idndled sparlcs of chimerical fancy to the heat 
6f a Yolcanym forge. 

Lopes do Vega, in describing an afflicted ^lepherde^s / in one of 
Us pastorals, who is represented weeping near the sea-side, says, 
'^ That ttie sea joyftilly advances to gather her tears; and that, hay- 
Bg endosed them in shells , it converts them hilo pearls.'' 

**T el mar como imbidloso 

A tieim por U» lagrjmat salia , 
. T akgre de cogetUs 
Iiu gnarda on ooacba*, j oooTierte en perUt.** 

Yin^^ addresses a stream — **Thou who ninnest over sands of 
gold , vrith feet of silver,'' more elegant than our Shakespeare's ^^Thy 
silver skin laced with thy golden blood." Yillegas monstrously 
exekdms, "Touch my breast, if you doubt the power of Lydia's 
eyes — ^you will find it turned to ashes." Again — " Thou art so great 
thatttiou canst only imitate thyself with thy own greatness;" much 
like omr ^^ None but himself can be his parallel." 

GoDgora , whom the Spaniards once greatly admired , and dis- 
tinguished by the epithet of The Wonderful y abounds with these 

He imagines that a nightingale, who enchantingly varied her 
notes, and sang in diflTerent manners , had a hundred thousand other 
mghtingales in her breast , which alternately sang through her 

«• Con diferencia tal , con gracia tanta , 
A quel rnyaenor Oora, qae sospecho 
Que tiene otros cien mil dentro del pecho, 
Qne alterno an dolor por sa garganta." 

Of a young and beautifhl lady he says, that she has but a few 
years of life , but many agejs of beauty. 

'* Machos sigloa de bennosura 
En pocos auoa de edad.** 

Many ages of beauty is a false thought, for beauty becomes not 
more beautiful from its age ; it would be only a superannuated 
beauty. A face of two or three ages old could have but few charms. 

In one of his odes he addresses the River of Madrid by the title 
of the Duke of Streams, and the Viscount of Rivers — 

'* Man9anares , Man^anarea , 
Os qae eo todo el aguatU mo , 
Estais Duque de Arroyos, 
T fUoonde de losKios.** 


He did nolyenturetocallila 5paiii5Agrdfuide>for,iiibcl, H 
is but a shallow and dirty stream \ and as Quevedo wittily tnTonng 
us, '^ Man^anares \$ reduced , during thesununerseasoB^to the 
melanchdy condition of the wicked rich man , who asks for water 
in Ihe depths of hell." Though so smaU, this stream in the time of 
a flood spreads itself oyer the neighbouring MAs ; for this reason 
Philip the Second built a bridge eleven hundred feet' long ! — ^A 
Spaniard passing it one day, when it was perfecUy dry, X)b6enring 
this superb bridge, archly remarked, ^^That it wouM benroper 
that the bridge should be sold to purchase water.'* — Es menester, 
render la puente , por comprar agua. 

Hie following elegant translation of a Spanish madrigal of the 
kind here criticised I found in a newspaper, but it si erideiftly by 
a master hand. 

On the green margm of the land , 

Where Gutdalhorce winds hu way. 

My Udy ky : 
' With golden key Sleep's gentle han4 

Had closed her eyes so bright — 

Her eyes , t vo «ans of light— 

And bade his balmy dews 

Her rosy cheeks snflfiise. 
The River God in shuaber saw her laid. 

He raised his dripping head , 

With weeds o*erspread. 
Clad in his wat'ry robes approached the maid , 
And^with cold kiat, like death , 

Drank the rich perfeme of the raaiden*s breath. 
The maiden felt that icy kiss 

Her tuns mnelosed, th^ flame 

Full and nnclonded on th* intmder came. 

Amaied th* intmder felt 

Hit frothy body meU 
And heard the radiance on hit hotom hist ; 

And , forced in blind confusion to retire , 

Leapt in the water to etcape the fire, 


The portrait of St. Evrettiond is delineated by his own hand. 

In his day it was a literary fashion for writers to give their own 
portraits ; a fashion that seems to have passed over into our country 
for Earquhar has drawn his own character in a letter to a lady! 
Others of our writers have given these self-miniatures. Such paintr^ 
ers are, no doubt, great flatterers, and it is rather their ingenuity 
than their truth, which ^e admire in these cabinet-pictures. ' 

" I am a philosopher, as Obut removed from superstition as from 
impiety, a voluptuary, who has not less abhorrence of debauchery 


Ihao uMiififttion f6r pleasure; a man, who has never known want 
DorabundaBce. I occvpy Ihat.sCation of life which ia contemned hj 
(bofie who poaaeaa erery thing; envied by those who have nothing; 
anil only relished by those who make their felicity consist in the 
exercise of their reason. Yonng , I hated dissipation^ convinced that 
man smst possess wealth lo provide for the comforts of a long life. 
(My I disliked economy ; « I belieye that weiieed not greatly dread 
wanly when we have but a shMltime to be miserable. I am satisfied 
with whal nature has done for me, nor do I repine at fortune. I do 
not seek in men what they have of evil, that I may censure; I only 
discover what they have ridiculous, that I may lie amused. I feel a 
pleasure in detecting their follies; I should feel a greater incommun 
■icating ny discoveries did not my prudence restrain me. Life is 
loo short, according to my ideas, to read all kinds of books, and to 
kmd our memories with an endless number of things at the cost of 
oir judgment. I do not attach mys^ k> the observations of scientific 
men to acquire science; but to the most rational, that I may streng- 
then my reason. Sometimes , I seek for more delicate minds, that 
my taste may imbibe their delicacy ; sometimes, for the gayer, that 
I may enrich my genius with their gaiety : and , although I constant- 
ly read, I make it less my occupation than my pleasure. In religion, 
and in friendship, I have only to paint myself such as I am — in 
firiendshipmore tender thanaphiloBopher;and in religion, as constant 
and as sincere asa youth who has more simplicity Ihan experience. My 
piety is composed more of justice and charity than of penitence. I 
rest my confidence on God , and hope every thing from his bene- 
volence. In the bosom of providence I find my repose, and my 


The student or the artist who may shine a luminary of learning 
and of genius, in his wMcs, is found, not rarely, to lie obscured be^ 
nealh a heavy cloud in colloquial discourse. 

If you k>ve the man of tetters , seek him in the privacies of his study . 
It is in the hour of confidence and tranquillity that his genius shaU 
eiicita ray ofintelligenoe, more fervid than the labours of polished 

The great Peter GorneiUe^ whose genius resembled that of our 
Shakespeare, and who has so forcibly expressed the subMme senti- 
ments of the hero, had nothing in his exterior that indicated bis 
genius; Us conversation was so insipid that it never failed of weary- 
ing. Nature, who had lavished on him the gills of genius , had for- 
gotten to blend with them her more ordinary ones. He did not even 


speak correctty that language of which he was such a master. When 
his fHends represented to him how much more he might please by 
not disdaining to correct these trivial errors, he would smile , and 
say — ' ' / am not the less Peter ComeiUe / " 

Descartes , whose habits were formed in solitude and meditation , 
was silent in mixed company; it was said that he had received his 
intellectual wealth from nature in sohd bars , but not in current coin ; 
or as Addison expressed the same idea , by comparing himself to a 
banker who possessed the wealth of his friends at-home , though he 
carried none of it in his pocket ; or as that Judicious moralist NicoHe, 
one of the Port-Royal Society, said of a scintillant wit— '^ He con- 
quers me in the drawings-room , but he surrenders to me at discre- 
tion on the staircase/' Such may say with Ttiemistocles , when asked 
to play on a lute^— ^< I cannot fiddle, but I can make a little village 
a great city." 

The deficiencies of Addison in conversation are weH known. He- 
preserved a rigid silence amongst strangers ; but if he was silent , 
it was the silence of meditation. How often , at that moment^ he 
laboured at some future Spectator ! 

Mediocrity can talk; but it is for genius to observe. 

The cynical Mandeville compared Addison , after having passed 
an evening in his company, to " a silent parson in a lie-wig." 

Virgil was heavy in conversation , and resembled more an or- 
dinary man than an enchanting poet. 

La Fontaine, says La Bruy^re, appear^ coarse, heavy, and 
stupid ; he could not speak or describe what he had just seen ^ 
but when he wrote he was the model of poetry. 

It is very easy, said a humorous observer on La Fontaine , to be 
a man of wit , or a fool ; but to be both, and* that loo fh the extreme 
degree, is indeed admirable, and only to be found in him. This 
observation applies to that fine natural genius Goklsmith. Qiaucer 
was more facetious in his tales than in his conversation, and the 
Countess of Pembroke used to rally him by saying that his silence 
was more agreeable to her than his conversation. 

Isocrates, celebrated for his beautifiil oratorical compositions, 
was of so timid a disposition , that he never ventured to speak in 
public. He compared himself to the whetstone which will not cut, 
but enables other things to do this \ for his productions served as 
models to other orators. Vaucanson was said to be as much a ma- 
cMne as any he had made. 

Dryden says of himself, — " My conversation is slow and dull, my 
humour saturnine and reserved. In short , I am none of those who 
endeavour to break jests in company, or make repartees." 

VIDA. 87 


What a consolation for an aged parent to see his child , by the 
eObrls'orhis own merits , attain from- the humblest obscurity to dis- 
togirished emhience ! What a transport for the man of sensibility to 
return to Oie obscure dwelling of his parent , and to embrace him , 
adorned wilh public honours! Poor Fida was deprived of this sa- 
dsfiKtioo ; but he is placed higher in our esteem by the present anec- 
dote Iban even by that classic composition, which rivals the Art of 
Podry of his great master. 

Jerome Fida, after having long served two Popes, at length at- 
lained to the episcopacy. Arrayed in the robes of his new dignity, 
be prepared to visit his aged parents , and felicitated himself with 
thcraplures which the old couple would feel in embracing their son 
as iheir bishop. When he arrived at their village , he learnt that it 
was but a few days since they were no more ! His sensibilities were 
e\quisitety pained. The muse dictated some elegiac verse, and in 
Ihe sotemn pathos deplored the death and the disappointment of his 


Bienheareax Scuvbbt , dont la fertile plume 
Peal tons les mois miu peine enfanter ua Tolame. 

BoiLBAU has written this couplet on the Scuderies , the brother 
and aster, both famous in their day for composing romances, which 
ibej sonietimes extended to ten or twelve volumes. It was the favou- 
rite literature of that period, as novels are now. Our nobility not 
uofrequently conde^ended to translate these .voluminous composi- 

The diminutive sixe of our moderii novels is undoubtedly an im- 
prwonent : but , in resembling the size of primers , it were to be 
wisbed that their contents had also resembled their inoffensive pa- 
ges. Our great grandmothers were inc<munoded with overgrown fo- 
lios; uid, instead of finishing the eventful history of two lovers at 
<H)e or two sittings, it was sometimes six months, including 
Sundc^s^before they could get quit of their Gletias , their Cyrus's, 
^ Parthenissas. 

Mademoiselle Scudery had composed ninety volumes! She had 
even finished another romance , which she would not give the pub- 
lic, whose taste, she perceived, no more relished this kind of 
works. She was one of those unfortunate authors who, living to more 
tban ninety years of age , survive their own celebrity. 

She had her panegyrists in her day : Menage observes, What a 


I^easiDg description has Mademoiselle Soudery made, in herCyms, 
of the litUe court at RambouiUet ! A thousand things in the roman- 
ces of this learned lady render them inestimable* She has drawn 
iVom the ancients th^ir happiest passages , and has even improved 
upon them \ like the prince in the fable , whatever she touches be* 
comes gold. We may read her wodcs with great profit, if we pos- 
sess a correct taste , and love instruction. Those who censure ^elr 
length only show the littleness of their judgment j as if Homer and 
Virgil were to f>e despised , because many of their books are filled 
with episodes and incidents that necessarily retard the conclusion. 
It does not require much penetration to observe, that Qrrus and 
Clelia are a species of the epic opem. The q[uc must envbcace 
a number of events to suspend the course of the narrative; 
which , only taking in a part of the life of the hero , would termi- 
nate too s«on to display the skill of the poet. Without this artifice, 
the charm of uniting the greater "part of the episodes to Che principal 
subject of the romance would be lost. Mademoiselle de Scuclery has so 
well treated them , and so aptly introduced a variety of beautiM 
passages, that nothing in this kind is comparable to her produo 
Uons. Some expression^ , and certain, turns , have become somewhat 
obsolete-; all the rest win last for ever , and outlive Che criticisms 
they have undergone." 

Menage has here certainly uttered a false prophecy. The curious 
only look over her romances. They contain doubtless many beauti- 
M inventions *, the misfbrtnne is , that time and patience are rare 
requisites for the ehjoyment of these Iliads in prose. 

^^ The misfortune of lier having writt^ too abundbmtlf has occa- 
sioned an unjust contempt," says a French critic. ^^ We confins 
there are many heavy and tedious passages in her voluminous ro- 
mances ] but if we consider that in the Clelia and the Artamenes are 
to be found inimitable dehcate touches , and many splendid p«*l8 
which would do honour to some of our living writers, we most 
acknowledge that the great defects of all her works arise from her 
not writing in an age when taste had reached the acme of cuUiva- 
tion. Such is her erudition , that the French plaoe her n^t to the 
celebrated Madame Dacier. Her works, containing many secret in- 
trigues of the court and city, her readers must have keenly rehshed 
on their early publication." 

Her Artamenes, or the Great Cyrus, and princip^ her Clelia , 
are representattons of what then passed at the court of F^rance. Tlie 
Map of the Kingdom (fTertdemess > in Clelia, appeared, at tiie 
time, as one of the happiest inventions* This once celebrated mcip 
is an allegory which distirigijdshes the dlflforent kinds ofTfiifDERFiBss, 
which are reduced to Esteem, Gratiuuie, and Inclmation. The 


BMpiq^fesoiislhne rivan, wUdi haye these (hrae names, and on 
wludi are sihuled ttuee towns galled Tenderness : Tenderness on 
Inclination^ Tenderness on Esteem; and Tenderness on GraUr- 
uule. Pleasing Auemions^ot Petks Soins, is nvQlage very beau- 
yMy sttoated. Mademolsette de jScodery was extremely proud of 
UiisliUleallegencalniap; andhada terriUecontroYavy with another 
writer afioiit Its originality. 

GsoAGE Scun^iY, her brother, and inlMor hi genins, had a 
striking aiDgolarity of chuncter : — he was one of the most com- 
plete TOttfies to the ontversal divinity of Vanity. With a heated ima- 
gin^oo, entirely destitale of Judgment , his military character was 
cenliniufly ^chibiting itsdf by that peaceM instrument the pen , so 
that liB exhibits a most amusing contrast of ardent feelings in a cool 
sitoafiOD; not UberaUy endowed with genius, but abounding with 
itssanUaiioeitt ihe fire of eccenhic gasconade; no man has pour- 
liiyed his own character with a bolder colouring than himself in his 
muaeroos prelhceft and addresses; surrounded by a thousand selP 
iOosionB of the most sublime class, every thing that related to him- 
self had an Homeric grandew of conception. 

In an einrte to the Duke of Montmorency , he says , '^ I wiB learn 
towrtewiOimylenhand, fliat my right hand may m<Nre noMy be 
devoted to your service ; " and alluding to his pen {phane\ declares 
'^ he comes flrom a funily who never ined one , [but to stick in 
Ih^ hats.'' Whea he sc^cits smaH fevours from the great, he as- 
sures teem ^Vtittt princes must not lhin& him importunate, and 
Qiat his wrilings are merely inspked by Ids own individual interest ; 
no! (he exdalms) I am stu<MoQS only of your glory, while I am 
cardess <rf my own fortune.'' And indeed, to do him justice, he acted 
np to these romantic feelings. Afler he had published his epic of 
Alarie, Christina of Sweden proposed to honour him with a chain 
of gold of the value of five hundred pounds, provided he would 
eipunge from his epic the eulogiums he bestowed on the Ck)unt of 
Gardie, whom she had disgraced. The efucal soul of Scudery mag- 
onknously scorned the bribe , imd replied, that '' If the chain of 
gold shonld be as weighty as thalchflSn mentioned in the history 
of (he Incas, I will never destroy any altar on which I have sa- 

Proud or his boasted nobihty and erratle Hi^, he thus addresses 
the reader: ^' You wift lightly pass over any feulls m my work, if 
you reflect that I have employed the greater part of my life in 
seeing the finest parts of Europe , and that I have passed more days 
in the cttnp thfiui in the library. I have used more matches to light 
my musket than to light my candles; I know better to arrange 
colunms in the fieM than those on paper ; and to square battalions 


better than to round periods. " In his first publication, he began 
his literary career perfectly in character, by a chafl»^;e to his 
critics ! 

He is the author of sixteen plays , chiefly heroic tragedies -, ohil- 
dren who all bear the features of their fiitther. He first introduced 
in his ^^ L' Amour Tyrannique " a strict observance of the Aristo- 
telian unities of time andplace^ and the necessity and advantages t)f 
this regulation are insisted on , which only sho^s that Ariitotle's 
art goes but little to the composition of a pathetic tragedy. In his 
last drama , ^' Arminius, '' he extravagant^ scatters his panegyrics 
on its fifteen predecessors ; but of the present one he has the qnost 
exalted notion : it is the quintessence of Scudery ! An ingenious 
critic calls it '' The downfal of mediocrity ! '' It is amusing to listen 
to this blazing preface — '' At length , reader, nothing remains for 
me but to mention the great Arminius which I now present to you, 
and by which I have resolved to close my long and laborious courses 
It is indeed my master-piece ! and the most finish^ work that ever 
came from my pen ; for whether we examine the fable, the man- 
ners , the sentiments , or the versification , it is certain that I 
never performed any thing so Just , so great , nor more beautKUl ; 
and if my labours could ever deserve a crown , I would claim it 
for this work ! " 

The actions of this singular personage were in unison witii his 
writings : he gives a pompous description of a most unimportant 
government which he obtained near Marseilles, but all the ^pran- 
deur existed only in our author's heated imagination. BachaunuNit 
and De la Ghapelle describe it , in their playful '' Voyage -, '' 

MaU il fant toqi parler da fort 
Qui sans doate est one merveille ^ 
C*eat Notre-Dame de la Garde ! 
GoaTemement commode et beau , 
A qui soffit, pour tout garde, 
Uq Suisse avec sa hallebarde 
Peint sar la porte do chftteau ! 

A fort very commodiously guarded ^ only requiring one sentinel 
witii his halbert — painted on the door ! 

In a poem on his disgust with the world, he tells us how intimate 
he has been witii princes : Europe has known him through all her 

provinces ^ he ventured every thing in a thousand combats : 


L*ou me rit ob^ir, Voa me vit commander, 
£t mon poll tout poudreuz a blanchi sous les armes ; 
n est pea de beaux arts ou je ne sois Snstroit ; 
£n prose et en Tcrs, moa nom fit quelque bruit; 
£t par plus d'un cbemin je parTuis a la gloire. 


Princes were prond my friendship to proclaim , 
And Europe gazed , where'er her Hero came ! 
I grasp'd the lanrela of heroic strife. 
The tbooMDMl perils of a soldier's life; 
Obedient in the ranks each toilful day ! 
Thoogh heroes soon command, they first obey. 
'Twas not for me , too long a time to yield ! 
Bom lor a diiefbun in the tAited field! 
Arovnd my plumed helm, my silrery hair 
Hnng like an hononr*d wreath of age and care ! 
The finer arts hare cbarm*d my studious hours. 
Versed in their mysteries , skil^ in their powers 
In verse and prose my equal genius glow'd, 
Pursuing glory by no single road ! 

Such was ttie vain George Scudery ! whose heart , however, was 
warm ; poverty could never degrade him ; adversity never broke 
down his magnanimous spirit ! 


The maxims of this noble author are in the hands of every one. 
To those who choose to derive eVery motive and every action from 
the solitary principle of self-loue, they are inestimable. They form 
one continued satire on human nature ; but they are not reconci- 
laf^ to the feelings of the man of f)etter sympathies , or to him who 
passes through life with the firm integrity of virtue. Even at court 
we find a Sully, a Malesherbes, and a Clarendon, as well as a 
Rochefoucault and a Chesterfield. 

The Duke de la Rochefoucault , says Segrais , had not studied ; 
but he was endowed with a wonderful degree of discernment, and 
knew Oie world perfecOy well. This afllorded him opportunities of 
making reflections, and reducing into maxims those discoveries 
which he had made in the heart of man , of which he displayed an 
admirable knowledge. 

It is perhaps worthy of observation that this celebrated French 
duke conki never summon resolution , at his election, to address 
the academy. Although chosen a manber, he never entered ; for 
such was his timidity, that he could not face an audience and dehver 
the Hisori compliraent on his introduction ; he whose courage , 
whose birth, and whose genius, were ahke distinguished. The 
fact is, as appears by Mad. de Sevign^ , that Rochefoucault lived 
a dose domestic life ; there must be at least as much theoretical 
' as practical knowledge in the opinions of such a retired philo- 


Chesterfield, our English RoctiefbucauU, we are also informed , 
possessed an admirable knowledge or the heart of man ^ and he loo 
has drawn a similar picture of human nature! These are two noble 
authors whose chief studies seem to have been made in courts. May 
it not be possible, allowing these authors not to have written a 
sentence of aprocripha , that the foult lies not so much in human 
nature as in the satellites of Power breathing their corrupt 


Were we to investigate the genealogy of our best modern sto- 
ries, we should often discover the illegitimacy of our favourites ; 
and retrace them frequentty to the East. My well-read friend, 
Mr. Douce, has collected materials for such a work^ but his mo- 
desty has too long prevented him from receiving the gratitude of 
the curious in literature. 

The stqry of the ring of Hans Carvel is of very ancient standing , 
as are most of the tales of tliis kind. 

Menage says that Poggius, who died in 1459, has the merit of 
ils invention; but I suspect he only related a very popular slory. 

Rabelais, who has given it in his peculiar manner, changed ils 
original name of Philephus to that of Hans Carvel. 

This title is likewise in the eleyenth of Les Cent Nom^eUes 
NouveUes collected in 1461, for the amusement of Louis XI. when 
Dauphin , and living in solitude. 

Ariosto has borrowed it, at the end of his fifth Satire; but has 
fairly appropriated it by his pleasant manner. 

In a collection of novels at Lyons, in 1555, it is introduced into 
the eleventh novel. 

Celio Malespini has it again in page 288 of the second part of his 
Two Hundred Novels, printed at Venice in 1609. 

Fontaine has prettily set it off, and an anonymous writer has 
composed it in Latin Anacreontic verses;, and at length our Prior 
has given it in his best manner, with equal gaiely and fireedom. 
After Ariosto , La Fontaioe , and Prior, let uft hear oC it no more; 
yet this has been done, in a manner, however, which here cannot 
be told. 

VoUaire has a civious essay to ihoiw that most of our bcsl mo- 
dem stories and [4ots originally belonged to the eastern nattom , a 
fkct whieh has been made more evident by recent researches. T^c 
Amphitrion of Motive was an imitation of Plaulus, who borrowed 
it from the Greeks, and they took it from the Indians! It is given 
by Dow in his History of Hindostan. In Captain Scott's Tales and 


AneeMes flroin Arabian wrilers , we are surprised at fkiduig so 
BMmy of our. ftiYOiiriles very ancient oriental^ts. — The Ephesian 
Matron, yersifiedby La Fbntaine, was borrowed fhm the Italians; 
t( is to be found in Petronins, and Petronius had it fhmi the Greeks. 
Boi whwe did the Greeks find it? In the Arabian Tales! And from 
wbenee did the Arabian fabuiliste borrow it? From the Chinese! It 
is fbund in Du) HaMe, who collected it fnmk the Versions of the 


A MAN of letters , more ihtent on the acquisitions of literahire 
than on the intrigues of pditics, or the speculations of commerce , 
may find a deeper soUtude in a populous metropolis than in the 
seditfiOD of the country. 

Hie studadt , who is no flatterer of the little passions of men, will 
nol be mnch incommoded by their i^resence. Gibbon paints his own 
sltnaHoD in the heart of (he tehionaUe worid. — '' 1 had not been 
endowed by art or nature with those Imppy gifts of confidence and 
address which unlock every door and erery bosom. While coaches 
were rattling through Bond^treet, I have passed many a s(ditary 
eveniBg in my lodging wifii my books. I withdrew without reluc- 
laiice firom the noisy and exiensiye scene of crowds without com- 
pany, and dissipation without pleasure.'' And even afler he had 
published the first volume of his History, he observes that in Lon- 
don his confinement was solitary &ad sad ; '^ the many forgot my 
existence when they saw me no longer at Brookes's , and the few 
who sometimes had a thought on their friend were detained by bu- 
siness or {Measure , and I was proud and happy if I coukl prevail on 
my bookseller, Elm^y, to enliven the dulness of the evening.''. 

A ritualion , very elegantly described in the beautifully polished 
veises of Mr. Rogers^ln )m '' j^istle to a Friend : " 

When from bU dassic dreams tbe student steals 
Amid the bus of crowds, the whirl of wheels , 
Tb anse imaolieed, while aroond Um press 
The metoor-lorms of equipage and dreM; 
Alaae in wonder lost , he seems to stand 
A rttj stranger in his natire land. 

He compares the studoit to one of the sev^ sleepers in the an- 
cient legend. 

Descartes residing m the commercial city of Amsterdam writing 
to Babae, iHostralies these descriptions with great force and vivacity. 

^^ You wish to retire ; and your intention is to seek the solitude of 
tlie Chartreux , or, possibly, some of the most beautiful provinces of 


France and Italy. I would rather adTise yoa , if you wish to observe 
mankind , and at the same time to kwe yoarself in the deepest soli- 
tude , to join me in Amsterdam. I prefer this situation to that eten 
of your delicious yiUa , where I spent so great a part of the last year ; 
for, however agreeable a country house may be , a thousand little 
conveniences are wanted , which can only be found in a city. One is 
not alone so frequently in the country as one could wish ; a nuntf^er 
of impertineht«visiters are continually besieging you. Here , as idl 
the world, except myself, is occupied in commerce, it depends 
merely on myself .to live unknown to the worid. I wsdk every day 
amongst immense ranks of people , with as much tranquillity as you 
do ki your green alleys. The men I meet vnth make the same im- 
pression on my mind as would the trees of your forest, or the flocks 
of sheep grazing on your common. The busy hum too of these mer- 
chants does not disturb one more than the purling of your brooks. 
If sometimes I amuse myself in contemplating their anxious motions, 
I receive the same pleasure which you do in observing those men 
who cultivate your land *, for I reflect that the end of ail their labours 
is to embellish the city which I inhabit, and to anUcipate all my 
wants. If you contemplate with delight the fruits of your orohards , 
vnth all the rich promises of abundance , do you think I feel less in 
observing so many fleets that convey to me the productions of either 
India ? What spot on earth could you find , which , like this , can so 
interest your vanity and gratify your taste?" 


The Jews have their Talmud •, the Catholics their Legends of 
Saints •, and the Turks their Sonnah. The Protestant has nothing 
but his Bible. The former are three kindred works. Men haye ima- 
gined that the more there is to be believed , the lAore are the merits 
of the believer. Hence all traditionists fbrmed the orfliodox and the 
strongest party. The word of God is lost amidst those heaps of hu- 
man inventions , sanctioned by an order of men connected with re- 
ligious duties \ they ought now, however, to be regarded rather as 
Curiosities of Literature. I give a sufficiently ample account of 
the Talmud and the Legends \ but of the Sonnah I only know that 
it is a coUection of the traditional opinions of the Turkish prophets, 
directing the observance of petty superstitions not mentioned in the 

The Talmud is a collection of Jewish traditions which have been 
oralfy preserved. It comprises the Mishna , which is the text ; and 
the Gemara its commentary. The whole forms a complete system 
of the learning, ceremonies, civil, and canon laws of the Jews ; 


IreaiiBgindeed on all subjects; even gardening , manual arts , etc. 
Tbe rigid Jews persuaded themselves thai these traditional explica- 
(toare ordivine origin. The Pentateuch , say they, was written out 
by ttieir legislator before his death in thirteen copies , distributed 
aaiOQg the twelve tribes, and the remaining one deposited in the ark. 
Tbe oral law Moses continually taught in the Sanhedrim, td the eld- 
eisaiKi the rest of the peo[4e. The law was repeated four times ; 
baifbjt inteqwelation was ddivered only by word of mouth ivom 
generation to generation. In the fortieth year of the flight fh>m 
Egypt the memory of the people became treacherous, and Moses was 
oonstrained to repeat his oral law, which had been conveyed by sue- 
cessiie traditienists . Such is the account of honest David Levi : it is 
Ibecieed of every rabbin. — ^David beUeved m every thing , but in 

This history of the Talmud some inclined to suppose apocryphal, 
eTea among a km of the Jews themselves. When these traditions 
fifst appeared, the keenest controversy has never been able to deter- 
Duoe. It cannot lie denied that there existed traditions among the 
Jews io the tioies of Jesus ClMrist. About the second century they were 
iodustrioosly collected by Babbi Juda the Holy, the prince of the 
rabbins, who enjoyed the favour of Antoninus iHus. He has the 
merit of giving some order to this multifarious collection. 

It appears thift the Talmud was compiled by certain Jewish ^k)c- 
tors, who were sc^cited Hn* this purpose by their nation , that they 
might have someOung Io q)pose to their Christian adversaries. 

The learned W. Wotton , in his curious ^' Discourses" on the tra- 
(iilions of ttie Scribes and Pharisees , supplies an analysis of this vast 
coflection^ he has translated entire two divisions of this code of tra- 
ditional laws with the original text and the notes. 

Tliere are two Tahnuds : the Jerusalem and the Babylonian. The 
last is the most esteemed , because it is the most bulky. 

R. Juda, the prince of the rabbins, committed to writing all these 
Mitiens, and arranged them under six general heads , called or- 
ders or classes. The subjects are indeed curious for philosophical 
ioqnirers , and multifarious as the events of civil life. Every order 
is formed of treatises : every treatise is divided into chapters, every 
chapter inio mishnas , which word means mixtures or miscellanies, 
ia the form of aphorisms. In the first part is discussed what relates 
^ seeds, fruits, and trees ^ in the second, /eart5,- in the third 
wvmew, their duties, their disorders, marriages, divorces, 
contracts , and nuptials : in the fourth , are treated the damages or 
towes sustained by beasts or men ^ of things Jound ; deposits ; usu- 
ries; rents; farms; partners/dps in commerce-, inheritance; 
'*afei and purchases; oaths; witrt^sses; arrests; idolatry ; and 


here are named those by whom the oral law was received and pre- 
serred. In the fifth part are noticed sacrifices and holy t/iings : and 
the sixth treats of purifications^ vessels; furniture; dothes; 
/louses; leprosy; baths ; and numerous other articles. All this forms 
the MisUNA. 

The Gemara , that is , the complement, or perfection, contains 
the Disputes ond the Opinions of the Rabbins on the oral tradi- 
tions. Their last decisions. It must be confiessed that absurdities are 
sometimes elucidated by other absurdities \ but there are many ad- 
mirable things in this vast repository. The Jews have such venera- 
tion for this compilation , that they compare the holy writings to 
water, and the Talmud to wine; the text of Moses to pepper, bat * 
the Tahnud to aromatics. Of the twelve hours of which the day is 
composed, they tell us that Goci employs nine to study the Talmud, 
and only three to read the written law ! 

St. Jerome appears evidenfly to allude to this work, and notices 
its ^^ Ok! Wives' Tales,'' and thefUthinessof some of its matters. The 
truth is, that the rabbins resemUed the Jesuits and Casuists; and 
Sanchez's work on ^^ Matrimonio"' ismeU known to agitate mat- 
ters with such scrupulous niceties ^ as to become the most offensive 
thing possible. But as among the schoohnen and the casuists there 
have been great men , the same happened to these Geman^sts. Mal> 
monides was a pillar of light among their darkness. The antiquity of 
this work is of itself sufficient to make'il very curious. 

A specimen of the topics may be shown fh>m the table and con- 
tents of ^^ Mishnic Titles." In the order of seeds , we find the fol- 
lowing heads, which present no umnteresting picture of Oie pastoral 
and pious ceremonies of the ancient Jews. 

The Mishna entiUed the Comer, i. e. of the field. The laws of 
gleaning are commanded according to Leviticus; xix. 9, 10. Of the 
comer to be left in a cornfield. When the comer to due and when 
not. Of the forgotten sheaf. Of the ears of com left in gathering. Of 
grapes left upon the vines. Of <^ves left upon the trees^ When and 
where the poor may lawfhUy glean. What sheaf, or olives, or grapes, 
may be looked upon to be forgotten , and what not. Who are the 
proper witnesses concerning the poor's due, to exempt it firom ti- 
thing , etc. The distinguished undreumcised fhiit : — it is mriawftil 
to eat of the firuit of any tree till the fifth year of its growth : the 
first three years of its bearing, it is called uncireumcised; the fourth 
is offered to God -, and the fifth may be eaten. 

The Mishna, entitled Heterogeneous Mixtures, contains se- 
veral curious horticultural particulars. Of divisions between garden* 
beds and fields , that the produce of the several sorts of grains or 
seeds may appear distinct. Of the distance between every species. 


DMances between ^es planted in corn-fteMs from one another and 
rnwi tbe com; between vines planted against hedges, walls, or 
espaliers, and any thing sowed near them. Tarious cases relating to 
vioejards planted near any forbidden seeds. 

In Oieir seventh, or sabbatical year, in which the produce of all 
estate was given up to \he poor, one of these regulations is on the 
dififerent work which must not be omitted in the sixth year, lest (be- 
cause the seventh being devoted to the poor) the produce should be 
unfidrty diminished , and the public benefit arising from this law be 
fmstrated. Of whatever is not perennial , and produced that year by 
the earth, no money may be made^ but whaf is perennial may be 

On priesfs titties, we have a regulation concerning* eating the 
liniits carried to the place where they are to be separated. 

The wder of women is very copious. A husband is obliged to 
UjtiM bis wif^ to keep a particular man's company before two 
witnesses. Of the waters of jealousy by which a suspected woman is 
to be tried by drinking , we find many ample particulars. The cere- 
B^enies of clothing the accused woman at her trial. Pregnant women , 
or who suckle , are not obliged to drink -, for the rabbins seem to be 
w^ convinced of the effects of the imagination. Of their divorces 
many are the laws ; and care is taken to particularise bills of di- 
vorces written by men in delirium or dangerously ill. One party of 
ttie rabbins will not allow of any divorce, unless something light 
was found in the woman's character, while another (the Pharisees) 
dlow divorces even when a woman has only been so unfortunate as 
to SKffer her husband's soup to be burnt ! 

In the order of damages, containing rules how to tax the da- 
mages done by man or beast, or other casualties , their distinctions 
wpe as nice as their cases are numerous. What beasts are innocent 
aod«prhat convict. By the one they mean creatures not naturally used 
Id do mischief in any particular way ^ and by the other, those that 
nalurany, or by a vicious habit, are mischievous that way. The tooth 
of a beast is convict, when it is proved to eat its usual food, the pro- 
perty of another man*, and full restitution must be made ^ but if a 
iieast that is used to eat fruits and herbs gnaws clothes or damages 
tools , which are not its usual food , the owner of the beast shall pay 
fmt baif (he damage when committed on the property of the injured 
f)eTson ; imt if the injury is committed on the property of the person 
mho does the damage, he is free^ because the beast gnawed what 
^was not its usual food. As thus -, if the beast of A. gnaws or tears the 
rkrthes of B. in B's house or grounds , A. shall pay half the damages ^ 
Iwl if B-'s clothes are injured in A.'s grounds by \.'s beast, A. is 

free, for what had B. to do to put his clothes in A's grounds? They 



made such subtile dfetinctioiis , as when an ox gores a man or beast^ 
the law inquired into the habits of the beast ^ whether it was an ox 
that used to gore, or an ox that was not used to gore. However acute 
these niceties sometimes were, they were often ridiculous. No beast 
could be comicted of being vicious tiH evidence was given thai he 
had done mischief three successive days; Bht if he leaves off thase 
vicious tricks for three days more, he is innocent again. An ox may 
be convict of goring an ox and not a man, or of goring a man and 
not an ox : nay, of goring on the sabbath , and not on a working day. 
Their aim was to make the punishment depend on the proofe of the 
design of the beast 4hat did the ipjury ; but this attempt evidently 
led them to distinctions much too subtile and obscure* Thus some 
rabbins say^ that the morning prayer of the Shemdh must be read 
at the time they can distinguish blue fh>m white ,* but another, more 
indulgent, insists it may be when we can distinguish blue from 
green! which latter colours are so near akin as to require a stronger 
light. With the same remarkable acuteness in distinguishihg things, 
is their law respecting not touching fire on the Sabbath. Among 
those which are specified in this constitution, the rabbins allow the 
minister to look over young children by lamp-light, but hQ shall 
not read himself. The minister is forbidden to read by lamp-light , 
lest he should trim his lamp; but he may direct the children where 
they should read, because that is quickly done, and there would be 
no danger of his trimming his lamp in their presence, or. suffering 
any of them to do it in his. All these regulations, which some may 
conceive as minute and Mvolous, show a great intimacy with the 
human heart, and a spirit of profound observation which had been 
capable of achieving great purposes. 

The owner of an innocent beast only pays half the costs for the 
mischief incurred. Man is always convict, and^for all mischief he 
does he must pay full costs. However there are casual damages ,-^ 
as when a man pours water accidentally on another man ; or makes 
a thorn-hedge which annoys his neighbour; or falling down, and 
another by stumbUng on him incurs harm : how such compensa- 
tions are to be made. He that has a -vessel of another's in keeping, 
and removes it , but in the removal breaks it , must swear to his own 
integrity ; i. e. that he had no design to break it. All ofifensive or 
noisy trades were to be carried on at a certain distance from a town. 
Where there is an estate, the sons inherit and the daughters are 
maintained; but if there is not enough for all, the daughters are 
maintained, and the sons must get their living as they can , or even 
beg. The contrary to this excellent ordination has been observed in 
Europe. « 

Thes» few titles may enable the reader to form a general notion 


oTtbe several subjects on which the Mishna. treats. The Gemara or 
Cnnmentary is often overioaded with ineptitudes and ridiculous suIh 
lillies. For instance , in the article of " Negative Oaths/' If a man 
swears he win eat no bread, anddoes eat all sorts of bread, in that 
case (be peijury is but one •, but if he swears that he will eat neither 
barley, nor wheaten , nor rye-bread , the peijury is multiplied as 
he multiplies his eating of the several sorts. — ^Again, the Pharisees 
and the Sadducees had strong differences about touching the holy 
WTitiogs with their hands. The doctors ordained that whoever 
touched the book of the law must not eat of the truma ( first fruits of 
(be wrought produce of the ground) , till they had washed their 
hands. The reason they gave was this. In times of persecution they 
used to hide those sacred books in secret places, and good men 
would lay them out of the way when they had done reading them. 
It was possible then that these rolls of the law might be gnawed by 
mice. The hands then that touched these books when they took 
(hem out of the places where they had laid them up were supposed 
to be unclean, so far as to disable them flrom eating the truma till 
they were washed. On that account they made this a general rule^ 
(bat if any part of the Bible (except Ecclesiastes , because that 
eicellent book their sagacity accounted less holy than the rest) or 
(heir phylacteries , or the strings of their phylacteries , were touched 
by one who hada right to eat the truma, he might not eat it till he 
had washed his hands. An evidence of that superstitious trifling for 
which the Pharisees and the later Rabbins have been so justly repro- 

They were absurdly minute in the literal observance of their 
vows, aod as shamefliUy subtile in their artful evasion of them. 
The Pharisees could be easy enough to themselves when conve- 
nient, and always as hard and unrelenting as possible to all others. 
They qoibUed, and dissolved their vows wi& experienced ca- 
s«Kh7. Jesus reproaches the Pharisees in Matthew xv. and Mark viiv 
for flagrantly violating the fifth commandment , by allowing the 
TOW of a son , perhaps made in hasty anger, its ftiU force , when he 
had sworn that his father should never be the better for him , or any 
U^g he had , and by which an indigent father might be suffered to 
s^e. There is an express case to this purpose in the Mishna, in 
the title of Vows. The reader may be amused by the story : — ^A 
fflan nude a vow that Ws father should not profit by him. This 
loan afterwards made a w^ding-feast for his own son, and wishes 
his father should be present^ but he cannot invite him because he 
is tied up by his vow. He invented this expedient :*-He makes a 
on of the court in which the feast was to be kept, and of the feast 
i'seir, to a third person in trust, that his father should be invited 


by that third person , with the other company whom he at fir«t de- 
signed. This first person then says,— If these Uiings you thus have 
given me are mine, I will dedicate them to God, and then none of 
you can be the belter for them; The son replied, — I did not give 
ihem to you that you should consecrate them. Then the third man 
said, — ^Yours was no donation, only you were willing lo eat and 
drink with your father. Thus, says R. Jiwia, they dissolved each 
other's intentions -, and when the case came before the rabbins , they 
decreed, that a giA which may not be consecrated by the person to 
whom it is given is not a gift. 

The following exhract firom the Talmud exhibits a sublUe mode 
of reasoning , which the Jews adopted when the learned of Rome 
sought to persuade them to conform to their idolatry. It forms an 
entire Mishna, entitled Seder Nezikin, Avoda Zara, iv. 7. on ido- 
latrous worship , translated by Wotton. 

'^ Some Roman senators examined the Jews in this manner : — If 
God hath no delight in the worship of idols , why did he not destroy 
them? The Jews made answer, — If men had worshipped only things 
of which the world had had no need , he would have destroyed the 
ofiject of their worship; but they also worship the sun and moon, 
stars and planets; and then he must have destroyed his world for 
the sake of these deluded men. But stiU, said the Romans, why 
does not God destroy tiie things which the world does not want, 
and leave those things which the world cannot be without? Because , 
replied the Jew9, this would strengthen the hands of such as wor- 
ship these necessary things, who would then say, — ^Ye aUow now 
that these are gods, since they are not destroyed.'' 


The preceding article furnishes some of the more serious inves- 
tigations to be found in the Talmud. Its levities may amuse. I leave 
untouched the gross obscenities and immoral decisions. The Talmud 
contains a vast collection of stories , apologues , and jests ; many dis- 
play a vein of pleasantry, and at times have a wildness of invention 
which sufficiently mark the features of an eastern parent. Many ex- 
travagantly puerile were designed merely to recreate their young 
students. When a rabbin was asked the reason of so much nonsense , 
he replied that the ancients had a custom of introducing music in 
their lectures, which accompaniment made them more agreeable; 
but ttiat not having musical instruments in the schools, the rabl>ins 
invented these sh*ange stories to mtmse attention. This was inge- 
niously said, but they make miserable work when they pretend to 
give mystical interpretations to pure nonsense. 


Ib 1711 , a Germin professor of the OrienW languages, Dr. 
Biseiiiiienger, puUislied in two large volumes quarto his ^^ Judaism 
dtscoYered," a ponderous labour, of which the scope was to ridi* 
cule the Jewish traditions. 

I stud! give a dangerous adyenture into which King DaTid was 
drawn by the derll. The king one day hunting, Satan appeared 
before him in the likeness of a roe. David discharged an arrow at 
him, but missed his aim. He pursued the feigned roe into the land 
of the Philistines. Ishbi, the brother of GoUath, instanUy recognised 
the king as him who had slain that giant. He bound him, and bend- 
ing him neck and heels,' laid him under a wine-press in order to 
press him to deatti. A miracle saves David. The earth beneath him 
became soft, and Ishbi could not press wine out of him. That even- 
ing in the Jewish congregation a dove, whose wings were covered 
with silver, appeared in great perplexity ; and evidently signified the 
king of Israel was in trouUe. Abishai, one of the king's counsellors, 
inqmring for the Idng, and finding him absent, is at a loss to pro- 
ceed, for according to the Mishna, no one may ride on the king's 
horse , nor sit upon his throne , nor use his sceptre. The school of 
the rabUns, however, aUowed these things in time of danger. On 
this Abishai vaults on David's horse, ( with an Oriental metaphor) 
the land of the Philistines leaped to him instantly ! Arrived at Ishbi's 
house, he behokis his mother Orpa spinning. Perceiving the Israe- 
lite, she snatched up her spinning-wheel and threw it at him, to 
kill him; ixit not hitting him, she desired him to bring the spin- 
ning-wheel to her. He did not do this exactly, but returned it to 
her in such a way tiiat she never asked any more for her spinning- 
whed. When Ishbi saw this, and recollecting that David, though 
tied up neck and heels, was still under the wine-press, he cried 
oiU, '*' There are now two who will destroy me ! '' So he threw David 
high up into the air, and studi: bis spear into the ground, imagin- 
ing that David would M\ upon it and perish. But AfHshai pronoun- 
ced the magical name, which the Talmudists frequently make use 
of, and it caused David to hover between earth and heaven , so that 
he fen not downt Both at length unite against Ishbi, and observing 
ttiat two young lions should kill one lion , find no difficulty in get- 
ting rid of the brother of GU)liath. 

Of Solomon, another favourite hero of the Talmudists, a fine 
Arabian story is told. This king was an adept in necromancy, and 
a male and a female devil were always in waiting for any emergency. 
It is observable, that the Arabians , who have many stories concern- 
ing Solomon, always describe him as a magician. His adventures 
with Aschmedai, the prince of devils, are numerous; and they both 
(tte king and the devil) served one another many a sUppery trick. 


One of the most remarkable is when Aschmedai , who was prisoner 
to Solomon , the king haying contrived to possess Mmself of the 
deyii's seal-ring, and chained him, one day offered to answer an 
unholy question put to him by Solomon , provided he retiMrned him 
his seal-ring and loosened his chain. The impertinent curiosity of 
Solomon induced him to commit this folly. Instantly Aschmedai 
swallowed the monarch ; and stretching out his wings up to the 
firmament of heaven, one of his feet remaining on the earth, he 
spit out Solomon four hundred leagues from him. This was done so 
privately that no one knew any thing of the matter. Aschmedai then 
assumed the likeness of Solomon, and sat' on his throne. From that 
hour did Solomon say, *^ 7%w then is the reward of all my labour," 
according to Ecclesiasticus, i. 3.; which this means, one rabbin 
says, his walkingstaff ; and another insists was his ragged coat. For 
Solomon went a fjegging from door to door; and wherever he came 
he uttered these words : " I, the preacher, was king over Israel in 
Jerusalem." At length coming before the council, and still repeating 
these remarkable words, without addition or variation , the rabbins 
said, ^^ This means something: for a fool is not constant in his 
tale! " They asked the chamberiain if the king frequently saw him? 
and he replied to them. No! Then they sent to the queens, to ask 
if the king came into their apartments? and they answered, Yes! 
The rabbins then sent them a message to take notice of his feet*, for 
the feet of devils are like the feet of cocks. The queens acquainted 
them that his majesty always came in slippers , but forced them to 
embrace at times forbidden by the law. He had attempted to lie with 
his mother Bathsheba , whom he had almost torn to pieces. At this 
the rabbins assembled in great haste, and taking Ibe beggar with 
them , they gave him the ring and the chain in which the great 
magical name was engraven , and led him to the palace. Aschmedai 
was sitting on the throne as the real Solomon entered, but instantly 
he shrieked and flew away. Yet to his last day was Solomon afraid 
of the prince of devils , and had his bed guarded by the valiant men 
of Israel , as is written in Cant. iii. 7, 8. 

They frequently display much humour in their inventions, as in 
the following account of the manners and morals of an infamous 
town which mocked at all justice. There were in Sodom four judges, 
who were liars, and deriders of justice. When any one had struck 
his neighbour's wife and caused her to miscarry, these judges thus 
counselled the husband *. ^' Give her to the offender, that he may get 
her with child for thee." When any one had cut off an ear of his 
neighbour's ass, they said to the owner : — "Let him have the ass 
till the ear is grown again , that it may be returned to thee as thou 
wishest." When any one had wounded his neighbour, they told the 


voQiMled man to ^' gtie him a fee for letting iiim blood.'' A toll was 
exacted in passing a certain bridge; but if any one chose to wade 
thioagh the water, or walk round aix>ut lo save it, he was condemned 
to a doable loll. ESeasar, Abraham's servant, came thither, and they 
voonded him. — ^When before the Judge he was ordered to pay his 
fee for taaTiBg his Mood let, Eleasar flung a stone at the judge and 
wounded him ; on which the Judge said to hun, — ^What meaneth 
this? Eleasar replied, — ^' Give him who wounded me the fee that is 
doe to myself for wouij^Ung thee." The peoj^e of this town had a 
bedstead on which they laid travellers who asked to rest. If any one 
was loo long for it, they cut off his legs ; and if he was shorter than 
the bedstead, they strained him to its head and fool. When a beggar 
came to this town , every one gave him a penny, on which was 
inscribed the donor's name ; but they would sell Urn no i)read , nor 
lei him escape. When the beggar died from hunger, (hen they came 
abool him, and each man took back his penny. These stories are 
cniioiis inventions of keen mockery and malice , seasoned with hu- 
oKiar. It is said some of the fomous decisions of Sancho Panza are to 
be found in the Talmud. 

Abraham is said to have been Jealous of his wives , and built an 
eachaofed city for them. He built an iron city and put them in. — 
The vraBs were so hi^ and dark, ttie sun could not be seen in it. 
He gave them a bowl full of pearls and Jewels , which sent forth a 
light in this dark city equal to the sun. Noah, it seems, when in the 
ark had no other light tlian Jewels and pearls. Abraham in travelling 
to Egypt brought with hhn a chest. At the custom-house the ofQcers 
exacted Ihe duties. Abraham would have readily paid, but desired 
tbisf would not open the chest. They first insisted on the duty for 
clothes, which Abraham consented to pay ; but th^ they thought 
by his ready acquiescence that it might be gold. — ^Abraham consents 
to pay for gold. They now suspected it might be silk. Abraham was 
wittiBg to pay for silk, or more costly pearls*, and Abraham gene- 
rously consented to pay «s if the chest contained the most valuable 
of Uiings. II was then they resolved to open and examine the chest. 
And behold as soon as that chest was opened, that great lustre of 
human beauty broke out which made such a noise in the land of 
Egypt; it vras Sarah herself! The Jealous Abraham, to conceal her 
beauty, had locked her up in this chest. 

The whole creation in these rabbinical fancies is strangely gigan- 
tic and yast The works of eastern nations are full of these descrip- 
tioDS ; and Hesiod's Theogony, and Milton's i)attles of angels , are 
pony in comparison vnth these rabbinical heroes, or. rabbinicid 
things. Mountains are hurled with all their woods with great ease , 
and creatures start into existence too terribk^ ibr our conceptions. 


The winged monster in the '' Arabian Nights," called the Roe, is 
evidently one of the creatures of rabbinical fiwcy ; it would some- 
times, when very hungry, seize and fly away with an elephant* 
Captain Cook found a bird's nest in an island near New HoUand, 
built with stickson the ground, six-and-<twenty feet in circumference, 
and n^ar three feet in height. But of the rabbinical birds, fish, md 
animals , it is not probaUe any circumnavigator wiU ever trace even 
the slightest vestige or resemblance. 

One of their birds, when it spreads its wigs, blots out the sun. 
An egg from another fell out of its nest, and the white thereof broke 
and glued about three hundred cedar-trees , and overflowed a vil* 
lage. One of them stands up to the lower joint of ttie leg in a river, 
and some mariners imagining the water was not deq[), were hasteo- 
ing to bathe , when a voice from heaven said : — ^^ Step not in there , 
for seven years ago there a carpenter dropped his axe, and it hath 
not yet reached the bottom/' 

The following passage concerning M geese is perfectly in Ito 
style of these rabbins. ' ' A rabbin once saw in a desert a flock of geese 
so fat that their feathers fell off, and ttie rivers flowed in fat. Then 
s id I to them, shall we have part of you in the other world when 
the Messiah shall come? And one of them lifted up a wing , and 
another a leg , to signify these parts we should have. We should 
otherwise have hi d all parts of these geese *, but we Israelites shall 
be called to an account touching these fat geese, because their suf^ 
feriogs are owing to us. It is our iniquities that have delayed tiie 
coming of the Messiah , and these geese suffer greatly by reason of 
their excessive fat, which daily and daUy increases , and will increase 
till the Messiah comes ! '' 

What the manna was which Ml in the wilderness has often 
been disputed , and stiU is di^)utable ^ it was sufficient for the rabbins 
to have found in the Bible that the taste of it was ^' as a wafer made 
with honey,'' to have raised their ikncy to its pitch. They declare it 
was '' like oil to children , honey to old man , and cakes to middle 
age." It had every kind of taste except that of cucumbers, melons , 
garlic , and onions, and leeks, fbr these were those Egyptian roots 
which the Israelites so much regretted to have lost. This manna had, 
however, the quality to accomodate itself to the palate of those who 
did not murmur in the wilderness ; and to these it became fish , flesh , 
or fowl. 

The rabbins never advance an absurdity without quoting a text in 
Scripture ; and to substantiate this foct they quote Deut. ii. 7, where 
il is said: ^^ Through this great wiklerness, these forty years the 
Lord thy God hath been with thee, and thou /tost lacked nothing! '' 
St. Austin repeats this explanation of the rabbins , that the feitbful 


fimiidiB ttiis manna tlie taste of their fovourite food! Howeyer, the 
Israelites coold not have found aU these tienefits, as the rabbins tell 
OS j for in Numbers xi. 6 , the exclaim: ^^ There is nothing at all 
besides this numna before our eyes ! '' They had just said that they 
remembered the melons , cucumbers , etc. , which they had eaten of 
aa freely in Egypt. One of theliyperboles of the rabbins is, that the 
Dunnafail in such mountains that the lungs of the east and the west 
befaeld them \ which they found in a passage in the 23rd Psalm : 
'^Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine ene- 
Hte ! '' These may serve as specimens of the forced interpretations 
QD whidi their grotesque fables are founded. 

Their detestation of Titus , their great conqueror, appears by the 
following wild invention.— After having narrated certain things loo 
dHmeftil to read, of a prince whom Josephus describes in far differ- 
eat eolours, they lell us that on sea Titus tauntingly observed in a 
great slonn that the God of the Jews w s only powerful on the water, 
ttd that ttwffelbre he had succeeded in drowning Pharaoh and Sisera* 
" Hal he been strong, he wouU have waged war with me in Jem- 
sstan." On uttering ttiis blasphemy, a voice from heaven said, 
''Wicked man! I have a little creahire in the world which shall 
wa9e war wtth ttiee! '' When Titus landed, a gnat entered his nostrils, 
and for seven years together made holes in his brains. When his 
skofl was opened, the gnat was found to be as large as ai^eon : the 
inMh of ttiegnat was of copper, and the claws of iron. A collection 
which has reeently appeared of ttiese TalmutMcal stories has not 
l»eo eieeuled irttii any felicity of selection. That there are, howe- 
t«r, s(Hne beaotifal inventions in the Talmud, I refer to the story of 
Solomon and Sbefoa , in the present volume. 


It is probable that this custom , so universally prevalent , origin- 
aled in some ancient superstition ; it seems to have excited inquiry 
aniODg all nations. 

Some Catholics , says Father Feyjoo , have attributed the origin of 
this custom to the ordinance of a pope , Saint Gregory — ^who is said 
to have instituted a short benediction to be used on such occasions ,. 
<^l a time when, during a pestilence, the crisis was attended by 
sneezings and in most cases foUowed by death. 

But the rabbins , who have a story for every thing, say, that before 
Jacob men never sneezed but oncey and then immediately died : 
*ey assure us that that patriarch was the first who died by nahiral 
^wasc, before him all men died by sneezing; the memory of which, 
'^as ordered to be preserved in aU nations by a command of every 


priDce to his subjects to employ some salutary exclamation after the 
act of sneezing. But these are Talmudical dreams, and only serve to 
prove that so familiar a custom has always excited inquiry. 

Even Aristotle has delivered some considerable nonsense on this 
custom-, he says it is an honourable acknowledgment of the seat of 
good sense and genius — ^the head — ^to distinguish it from two other 
offensive eruptions of air, which are never accompanied by any 
benediction from the by-standers. The custom , at all events , existed 
long prior to Pope Gregory. The lover in Apuleius, GytoA in 
Petronius, and allusions to it in Pliny, prove its antiquity, and a 
memoir of the French Academy notices the practice in the New 
World , on the first discovery of America. Every where man is salut- 
ed for sneezing. 

An amusing account of the ceremonies whi6h attend the sneezing 
of a king of Monomotapa shows what a national concern may be the 
sneeze of despotism. — ^Those who are near his person, when this 
happens , salute him in so loud a tone that persons in the antechamber 
hear it , and join in the acclamation-, in the adjoining apartments 
they do the same, till the noise reaches the street, and becomes 
propagated throughout the city; so that at each sneeze of his majesty, 
results a most horrid cry itom the salutations of many ttiousands of 
his vassals. 

When the king of Sennaar sneezes, his courtiers immediately 
turn their backs on him , and give a loud slap on their right thigh. 

With the ancients sneezing was ominous; from the right it was 
considered auspicious; and Plutarch, in his life of Themistocles, 
says , that before a naval battle it was a sign of conquest ! Catullus , 
in his pleasing poem of Acm6 and Septimus , makes this action from 
the deity of Love from the left the source of his fiction. The passage 
has been elegantly versified by a poetical fHend, who finds author- 
ity that the gods sneezing oh the right in heaven is supposed to 
come to us on earth on the left. 

Cupid sneezing in hjs flight , 
Ooce was heard apon the right. 
Boding woe to lovers trne ; 
Bat now upon the left he fletr , 
And with sporting tneeze diTine, 
GaTe to joy the sacrod sign. 
Acm^ bent her lorelj face , 
Fhish'd with raptare's rosy grace, 
And those eyet that swam in bliss , 
Prett with many a breathing kiss , 
Breathing, murmuring, soft, and low, 
Thus might life for erer flow ! 
*' Lore of my life , and life tif loTt ! 
Cnpid rules our fates aboTc , 


EtUt kt w T<yir to join 
In homage at bU happj ahrine.** 
Copid heard the loveri tme. 
Again open the Uft he flew. 
And with sportrre sneeze dirine , 
Aenew'd of joy tiie emered sign I 


A HAPPY art in the relation of a story is, doubtless, a very 
agreeable talent — it has obtained La Fontaine all the iq;)i^iise 
wlueli his charming ncuyete deserves. 

(X^^Bonm^nture des Periers, Kalet de Chambre de la 
Rcyne de Navarre , " there are three little yolumes of tales in 
prose, io the qjosAnX or the coarse (Peasantry of that day. The fol- 
lowiag is not giYen as the best, but as it kitroduces a notel etymo- 
logy of a word in great use. 

'^A student at law, who studied at Poitiers, had tolerably impro- 
Ted himself in cases of equity, not that he was overburthened with 
learning, but his chief deficiency was a want of assurance and con- 
fidence to display bis knowledge. His fattier, passing by Poitiers, 
reeommended him Io read aloud, and to render his memory more 
pronptby continued exercise. To obey the injunctions of his father 
bedeieraiiDed to read at the Ministery. In order to obtain a certain 
qoantity of assurance, he went every day intc^a garden, which was 
a Toy retired spoi, being at a distance from any house, and where 
there grew a great number of fine large cabbages. Thus for a long 
tiiie he pursued his studies, and rq[>eated his lectures to these cab- 
iMges, addressing them by the title of gentlemen^ and balancing 
his periods to them as if they had composed an audience of scholars. 
Afler a fortnight or three weeks' preparation , he thought it was high 
time to take the chair ^ imagining that he should be able to lecture 
his scholars as well as he bad before done his cabbages. He comes 
forward , be begins his oration — but before a dozen words his tongue 
freezes between his teeth ! Confiised , and hardly knowing where he 
vas, all be could bring out was — Domini, ego bene vide^o quod 
non estis caules ,• that is to say — for there are some who will have 
every thing iij plain English — Gentlemen , / now clearly see you 
ore not cabbages I In the garden he coukl conceive the cabbages 
to be scholars ; but in the chair, he could not conceive the scholars 
^hn cabbages:' 

On this story La Monnoyehasanote, which gives a new origin 
tea familiar term. 

"The haU of the School of Equity at Poitiers, where the institutes 
vereread, was called La Ministerie. On which head, Florimond 


de Remond (book vii. ch 11. )> speaking of Albert Babinot, one of 
the first disciples of Calvin, after having said he was called ^The 
good man, adds, that because he had been a student of the insti- 
tutes at his Ministerie of Poitiers, Calvin, and others, styled him 
Mr, Minister 'y from whence, afterwards, Cali^in took occasion to 
give the name of Ministers to the pastors of his church/' 


The Life of Grotius shows the singular felicity of a man of letters 
and a statesman; and how a student can pass his hours in the closes! 
imprisonment. The gate of the prison has sometimes J[)een the porch 
of fame. 

Grotius , studious from his infancy, had also received fhMn Nature 
the faculty of genius \ and was so fortunate as to find in his father a 
tutor who had formed his early taste and his moral feelings. The 
younger Grotius, in imitation of Horace, has celebrated his grati- 
tude in verse. 

One of the most interesting circumstances in the Kfe of this great 
man , which strongly marks his genius and fortitude , is displayed in 
the manner in which he employed his time during his imprisonmeat. 
Other men , condemned to exile and captivity, if they survive, des- 
pair ; the man of letters mayreckonthosedaysasthesweetestofhislife. 

When a prisoner ay he Hague, he lai>oured on a Latin essay on 
the means of terminating religious disputes , which occasion so niany 
infelieities in the state , in the church , and in fomilies \ when he was 
tcarried to Louv^islein, he resumed his law shidies, which other 
emj^yments had interrupted. He gave a portion of his time to mo- 
ral philosophy, which engaged him to translate the maxims of the 
ancient poets , collected by StobflBus , and the fragments of Menander 
and PhUemon. 

Every Sunday was devoted to the scriptures , and to his Gonomaen- 
taries on the New Testament. In the course of the work he fell ill ; 
but as soon as he recovered bis health he composed his treatise, in 
Dutch verse, on the Truth of the Christian Religion. Sacred aikl 
profane authors occupied him alternately. His oiriy mode of refk*esh- 
ing his mind was to pass firom one work to another. He sent to Vos- 
^us his observations on the Tragedies of Seneca. He wrote several 
other woits *, particularly a little Catechism , in verse , for his daugh- 
ter Cornelia^ and collected materials to form his Apology. Add to 
these various labours an extensive correspondence he held with the 
learned; and his letters were often so many treatises. There is a 
printed collection amounting to two thousand. Grotius had notes 
ready for every classical author of antiquity whenever they prepared 


• new edition ; an aecount of his plans and his petformaAces might 
farmsh a volume of Ihenwelres; yet he neter puWished in haste, 
and was fond of revising them; we must reconecl, notwithstanding 
sikA unintemipted literary avocations , his hours were frequently 
dcToted to the public ftmctions of an ambassador. "I only reserve 
for my studies the tijne which other ministers give to their pleasures , 
to conversations often useless , and to visits sometimes unnecessary ;" 
soch is the language of this great man ! Although he produced thus 
abundantly, his conflnement was not more than two years. We may 
wen exclaim here, that the mind of Grotius had never been im- 

I have seen this great student censured for neglecting his official 
doties, but it would be necessary to decide on this accusation to 
ttow the character of his accuser. 


I OFFER to the contemplation of those unfortunate mortals who 
are necessitated to undergo the criticisms of lords, this pair of 
anecdotes — 

Soderlni, flie Gonfaloniere of Florence, having had a statue 
made by the great Michel Angela , when it was finished came to 
inspect it; and having for some time sagaciously considered it, po- 
rhignow on the face, then on the arms, the knees, the form of the 
leg, and at length on the foot itself; the statue betog of such perfect 
beauty, he found himself at a loss to display his powers of criticism , 
only by lavishing his praise. But only to praise might appear as if 
there had been an obtusehess in the keenness of his criticism. He 
trembled to find a fault, but a fault must be found. At length he 
Tentured to mutt^ something concerning the nose-^ it might, he 
fiiought, be something more Grecian. Angela differed ft-om his 
grace , but he said he woold attempt to gratify his taste. He took up 
his chisel, and concealed some marble-dust in his hand; feigning 
to retouch the part, he adroiUy let foil some of the dust he held 
concealed. The cardinal observing it as it fefi, transported at the 
idea of his critical acumen, exchiimed — "Ah, Angela fjou have 
now given an inimitable grace!'' 

When Pqpe was first introduced to read his Iliad to Lord Halifox , 
the noble critic did not venture to be dissatisfied with so perfect a 
composition; but, like the cardinal, this passage, and that word, 
ftris torn , and Chat expression , formed the broken cant of his criti- 
cisms. The honest poet was stung with vexation; for, in general, 
(he parts at which his lordship hesitated were those wifii which he 
was most satisfied. As he returned home with Sir Samuel Garth , he 


revealed to him the anxiety of his mind. ^^Oh/' replied Garth, laugfn 
ing, ^^youarenot so well acquainted with his lordship as myself; 
he must criticise. At your next visit read to him those very passages 
as they now stand ; tell him ttiat you have recollected his criticisms ; 
and I'll warrant you of his approbation of them. This is what* I have 
done a hundred times myself.'' Pope made use of this stratagem ; it 
took, like the marble-dust oi Angela -^ and my lord, like the cardi-^ 
nal, exclaimed — ^^ Dear Pope, they are now inimitable.'' 


Some authors have practised singular impositions on the public. 
Yarillas , the French historian , enjoyed for some time a great repu- 
tation in his own country for historical compositions, but when they 
became more known , the scholars of other countries destroyed the 
reputation which he had unjustly acquired. His continual professions 
of sincerity prejudiced many in his favour, and made him pass for a 
writer who had penetrated into the inmost recesses of the cabinet : 
but the public were at length undeceived, and were convinced that 
the historical ahecdotes which Yarillas put off for authentic facts had 
no foundation , being wholly his own inventions : — though he en- 
deavoured to make them pass for realities by affected citations of 
titles , instructions , letters , memoirs , and relations , all of them ima- 
ginary ! He had read almost every thing historical, printed and ma- 
nuscript; but his fertile political imagination gave his conjectures as 
facts, while he quoted at random his pretended authorities. Burnet's 
book against Yarillas is a curious little volume. 

Gemelli Carreri , a Neapolitan gentleman, for many years never 
quitted his chamber; confined by a tedious indisposition , he amused 
himself with writing a Voyage round the Worlds giving charac- 
ters of men , and descriptions of countries , as if he had really visited 
them : and his volumes are still very interesting. I preserve this anec* 
dote as it has long come down to us; but Carreri, it has been re- 
cently ascertained, met the fate of Bruce; for he had visited the 
places he has described ; Humboldt and Clavigero have confirmed 
his local knowledge of Mexico, and of China, and found his book 
useftil and veracious. Du Ualde , who has written so voluminous an 
account of China ^ compiled it from the Memoirs of the Missionaries, 
and never travelled ten leagues from Paris in his life; though be ap^ 
pears, by his writings, to be familiar with Chinese scenery. 

Damf)erger's Travels some years ago made a great sensation — and 
the public were duped ; they proved to be the ideal voyages of a 
meoober of the German Grubstreet, about his own garret. Too many 
of our '' Travels" have been manufactured to fill a certain size ; 


lodsome which b^ur names of great authority were DOt written by 
the professed authors. 

There is an excellent observation of an anonymous author : — 
" Writers who never visited foreign countries, and travellers who 
have run through immense regions with fleeting pace, have given 
OS long accounts of various countries and people; evidently collect- 
ed fifln the idle reports and absurd traditions of the ignorant vul- 
gar, from whom only they could have received those relations which 
we see aAumulated with such undiscerning credulity. *" 

Some authors have practised the singular imposition of announ- 
eiog a variety of titles, of works preparing for the press, but of 
whieh nothing but the titles were ever written. 

Baschal, historiographer of France, had a reason for these Inge- 
Dious inventions; he continually announced such titles, that lus 
pension for writing on the history of France might not f)e stopped. 
When he died , his historical labours did not exceed six pages ! 

Gregorio Leti is an historian of much the same stamp as Yarillas. 
He wrote with greatfacility, and hunger generally quickened his pen. 
He took every thing too lightly ; yet his works are sometimes looked 
into for maoy anecdotes of English history not to be found elsewhere ; 
and perbaps ought not to hate been there if truth had been consult- 
ed. His great aim was always to make a book : he swells his volumes 
with digressions, intersperses many ridiculous stories, and ap- 
plies all the repartees he collected from old novel-writers to modem 

Such forgeries abound; the numerous '^ Testamens Politiques '' 
of Colbert, Mazarine, and other great ministers, were forgeries 
Qsoafly from the Dutch press , as are many pretended political '*• Me- 

Of our old translations from the Greek and Latin authors, many 
were taken from French versions. 

The Travels, vmlten in Hebrew, of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, 
of which we have & curious translation, are , I believe, apocryphal. 
He describes a journey, which, if ever he took, it must have been 
with his night-cap on ; being a perfect dream I It is said that to inspi- 
rit and give importance to his nation, he pretended that he had tra- 
TeOed to aU the synagogues in the East; he mentions places which 
he does not appear ever to have seen , and the different people he 
describes no one has known. He calculates that he has found near 
eight hundred thousand Jews , of which about half are independent, 
and not subjects of any Christian or Gentile sovereign. These ficti- 
tious travels have been a source of much trouble to the learned ; par- 
ticijdarly to those who in their zeal to authenticate them foUowed 
the aerial foosteps of the Hyppogriffe of Rabbi Benjamin. He affirms 


thai ttie tomb of Ezekiel, with the library of the first and second 
temples, were to be seen in his time at a place on the banks of the 
river Euphrat^; Wesselius of Groningen, and many other literati, 
travelled 6n purpose to Mesopotamia, to reach the tomb and exa- 
mine the library \ but the fairy treasures were never to be seen , nor 
even heard of! 

The first on the list of impudent impostors is Annius of YiHrbo , 
a Dominican , and master of the sacred palace under Alexander YI. 
He pretended he had discovered the entire works of SandRoniatho , 
Manetho, Berosus, and others, of which only fi*agments are remain- 
ing. He published seventeen books of antiquities! But not having 
any MSS. to produce, though he declared he had found them bu- 
ried in the earth, these literary fabrications occasioned great con- 
troversies -, for the author died before he made up his mind to a 
confession. At their first publication universal joy was diffused 
among the learned. Suspicion soon rose, and detection followed. 
However, as the forger never would acknowledge himself as such , 
it has been ingeniously conjectared that he himself was imposed on, 
rather than that he was the impostor ^ or, as in the case of Chatter- 
ton, possibly aU may not be fictitious. It has been said that a great 
volutne in MS. , anterior by two hundred years to the seventeen 
books of Annius, exists in the Biblioth^que G(»lbertine, in which 
these pretended histories were to be read; but as Annius would ne- 
ver point out the sources of his , the whole may be considered as a 
very wonderful imposture, I refer the reader to Tyrwhitl's Vindica- 
tion of his Appendix to Rowley's or Ghatterion's Poems , p. 140, 
for some curious observations, and some facts of literary imposture. 

An extraordinary literary imposture was that of one Joseph Vella, 
who, in 1794, was an adventurer in Sicily, and pretended that he 
possessed seventeen of the lost books of Livy in Arabic : he had 
received this literary treasure, he said, from a Frenchman who had 
purloined it from a shelf in St. Serbia's church at Constantinople. 
As many of the Greek and Roman classics have been translated by 
the Arabians, and many were first known in Europe in their Arabic 
dress , there was nothing improbable in one pari of his story. He 
was urged to publish these long-desired books-, and Lady Spencer, 
then in Italy, offered to deft*ay the expenses. He had the effrontery, 
by way of specimen , to edit an Italian translation of the sixtieUi 
book, but that book took up no more than one octavo page ! A pro- 
fessor of Oriental literature in Prussia introduced it in his work, ne- 
ver suspecting the firaud; it proved to be nothing more than the 
epitome of Florus. He also gave out that he possessed a code which 
he had picked up in the abbey of St. Martin , containing the an- 
cient history of Sicily in the Arabic period, comprehending above 


two hundred years ^ and of which ages their own historians were 
eatirely deficient ia knowledge. Yella declared he had a genuine 
ofl^ial correspondence between the Arabian governors of Sicily and 
Iheir superiors in Africa , from the first landing of the Arabians in 
(hat island.. Yella was now loaded with honours and pensions! It is 
(roe he showed Arabic MSS. , which, however, did not contain a 
syUaMe of what he said. He pretended he was in continual corres- 
pondence wjth friends at Morocco and elsewhere. The King of Na- 
ples famished him with money to assist his r^earches. Four vol- 
umes in quarto were at length published! Yella had the adroitness 
to change the Arabic MSS. he possessed , which entirely related to 
Mahomet , to matters relative to Sicily ^ he bestowed several weeks' 
laiM>ur to disigure the wbole , altering page for page , line for line, 
and word for won) , but interspersed numberless dots , strokes , and 
Qourishes ^ so that when he published a fac-simile , every one ad- 
mired the gleaming of Yella, who could translate what no one else 
could read. He complained he had lost an eye in this minute la- 
bour ^ and every one thought his pension ought to have been in- 
creased. Every thing prospered about him , except his eye , which 
some thought was pot so bad neither. It was at length discovered 
by his blunders 9 etc. that the whole was a forgery : though it had 
now been patronised , translated, and extracted through Europe. 
When this M& was examined by an Orientalist , it was discovered to 
be nothing but a history of Mahomet and his family. Yella was 
condemned to imprisonment. 

The Spanish antiquary, Medina Conde, in order to favour the pre- 
tensions of the church in a great lawsuit, forged deeds and inscrip- 
tions , whi6h he buried in tl^e ground, where he knew they would 
shortly be dug up. Upon their being found, he published engravings 
of Ihem , and gave explanations of their unknown characters , ma- 
king them out to be so many authentic proofs and evidences of the 
cont^ted assumptions of the clergy. 

The Morocco ambassador purchased of him a copper bracelet of 
Fatima, which Medina proved by the Arabic inscription and many 
certific0tes to be genuine^ and found among the ruins of the Alham- 
bra, with other treasures of its last king , who had hid them there in 
hope jof better days. This Dbjuous bracelet turned out afterwards to 
be. the work of Medina's own hand , made out of an old brass can- 

George Psalmanazar, to whose labours we owe much of the great 
Universal History, exceeded in powers of deception any of the great 
impostors of learning. His Island of Formosa was an Ulusion emi- 
nently bold, and maintained with as much fehcity as erudition -, and 
grjal must have been that erudition which could form a pretended 



language and its grammar, and fertile the genius vfhich could invent 
the history of an unknown people : it is said that the deception was 
only satisfactorily ascertained by his own penitential confession ^ he 
had defied and baflled the most learned. The literary impostor Lau- 
der had nmch more audacity than ingenuity, ani be died contenmed 
by all the world. Ireland's Shakespeare served to show that commen- 
tators are not blessed , necessarily, with an Interior and unerring 
tact. Genius and learning are ill directed in forming literary imposi- 
tions , but at least they must be distinguished flrom the fabrications of 
ordinary impostors. 

A singular forgery was practised on Captain Wilford by a learned 
Hindu, who, to ingratiate himself and his studies with the too zealous 
dnd pious European , contrived , among other attempts , to give the 
history of Noah and his three sons , in his '* Purana ," under the de- 
signation of Satyavrata. Captain Wilford , haviAg read the passage , 
transcribed it for Sir William Jones , who translated it as a curious 
extract 5 the whole was an interpolation by the dexterous intioduction 
of a forged sheet, discoloured and prepared for the purpose of de- 
ception, and which, having served his purpose for the moment , was 
afterwards withdrawn. As books in India are nofc bound, it is not dif- 
ficult to introduce loose leaves. To confirm his various impositions , 
this learned forger had the patience to write tw# voluminous sections, 
in which he connected all the legends together in the s^le of the Pu- 
ranasy consisting of 12,000 lines. When Captain Wilford resolved 
to collate the manuscripts with others, the learned Hindu began to 
disfigure his own manuscript, the captain's, and those of the coU^o, 
by erasing the name of*the country and substituting thaf of Egypt. 
With as much pains, and with a more honourable direction, our 
Hindu Lauder might have immortalised his invention. 

We have authors who sold their names to be prefixed to works they 
never read •, or, on the contrary, have prefixed the names of others 
to their own writings. Sir John Hill , once when he fell sick , owned 
to a firiend that he had overfatigued himself with writing seven works 
at once ! one of which was on architecture, and another on cookery ! 
This hero once contracted to translate Swammerdam's work ^n in- 
sects for fifty guineas. After the agreement with the bookseller, be re- 
collected that he did not understand a word of the Dutch language ! 
Nor did there exist a French translation. The work however, was not 
the less done for this small obstacle. Sir John bargained with another 
translator for twenty-five guineas. The second translator was precise- 
ly in the same situation as the first-, as ignorant , though not so well 
paid as the knight. He rebargained with a third, who perfectiy un- 
derstood his original, ibr twelve guineas ! So that the translators who 
could not translate feasted on venison and turtle , while the modi^st 


drudge, wfaose name never appeared to the world, broke in patience 
Ids daOy Inread ! The craft of authorship has many mysteries. One of 
the great patriarchs and primeval dealers in English literature was 
Bobert Green, one of the most Dacetious, profligate, and indefati- 
gaUe of ttie Scriideri family. He laid the foundation of a new dynasty 
of literary empenn^. The first act by which he proved his claim to 
ttie tfarone of Giub-street has served as a model to his numerous suc- 
cenorsp— ^ was an amUdextrous trick! Green sold his ^^ Orlando 
Fnrioso " to two .different theatres, and is among the first authors in 
Englisli literary history who wrote as a trader; or as crabbed An- 
thony Wood phraaes it in ttie language dT celibacy and cynicism, ^^ he 
wrote to maintain his y^ife , and that high and loose course of living 
which poets generallf follow.'' Will* a drop still sweeter, old An- 
thony describes Gay ton, another worthy , ^^ he came up to London to 
live in a shirking condition, and wrote trite things merely to get 
bread to »istain him and his w^'e.'' The hermit Anthony seems to 
have bad a mortal antipathy against the Eves of literary men. 


Tbe prasent anecdote concerning Cardinal Richelieu may serve 
to teach tbe man of letters how he deals out criticisms to the great, 
when Ihey ask las opinion of manuscHpts, be they in verse or prose. 

The cardinal placed in a gallery of his palace the portraits of seve- 
ral iliiatrious men, imd was desirous of composing the inscriptions 
09der the portraits. The one which he intended for Montluc , the 
marectaal of France , was conceived in these terms : Multa fecit , 
piura scripsk, "vir tamen magnusfuit^ He showed it without 
meBtioning the author to Rourbon , tbe royal Greek professor, and 
asked his opinion concerning it. The critic considered that the Latin 
waB much in the style of the breviary , and , had it concluded with 
an aUelujah , it would serve for an anthem to the magnificat. The 
cardinal agreed with the severity of his strictures, and even acknow- 
ledged the discernment of the proiSessor •, *' for," he said, " it is really 
written by a priest." But however he might approve of Bouri)on's 
critical powers, he punished without mercy his ingenuity. The pen- 
sion his majesty had bestowed on him was withheld the next year. 

The cardinal was one of those ambitious men who foolishly at- 
tempt to rival every kind of genius ^ and seeing himself constantly 
disappointed, he envied , with all the venom of rancour, those talents 
which are so frequently the all that men of genius possess. 

He was jealous of Balzac's splendid reputation-, and offered the 
^der Hdnsius ten thousand crowns to write a criticism which should 
ridicule his elabc^te compositions. This Heinsius reftised, because 


Salmasius threatened UT revenge Balzac on his If erodes htfan-- 

He attempted to rival the reputation of Gomeille's " Cid," by c^ 
posing to it one of the most ridiculous dramatic productions ; it was 
the allegorical tragedy called ^^ Europe /' in which the minister had 
congregated the four quarters of the world! Much political matter 
was thrown together, divided into scenes and acts. There are append- 
ed to it keys of the dramatis personce and of the allegories. In this 
tragedy Francion represents France^ Ihere, Spaii^ Parthenope , 
Naples, etc. ; and these have their attendants : — Lilian ( alluding to 
the French lilies) is the servant of Francion , while Uispale is the 
confident of Ibere. But the key to the aUegories is much more co- 
pious : — Albione signifies England-, three knots of the hair of 
Austrasie mean the towns of Clermont, Slenay, and Jamet, these 
places once belonging to Lorraine. A box of diamonds of Austrasie 
is the town of Nancy, belonging once to ttie dukes of Lorraine. The 
hey of Iberia's great porch is Perpignan, which France took from 
Spain -, and in this manner is this sublime tragedy composed! When 
he first sent it anonymously to the French Academy it was reproba- 
ted. He then tore it in a rage , and scattered it about his study. To- 
wards evening , like another Medea lamenting over the members of 
her own children, he and his secretary pas^ied the night in uniting 
the scattered limbs. He then ventured to avow himself ; and having 
pretended to correct this incorrigible tragedy, the submissive Aca- 
demy retracted their censures, but the public pronounced its melan- 
choly fate on its first representation. This lamentable tragedy was 
intended to thwart ComeiUe's ^^ Cid.'' Enraged at its success, Riche- 
lieu even commanded Oie Academy to publish a severe critique of it, 
well known in French literature. Boileau on ttiis occasion has these 
two well turned verses : — 

'< En Tain contre la Gd , an minutre m ligoe ; 
Tout Ptrit , pour Ckimint , a let yens de Rodtigu4»* 

** To oppoce th« Cid, in rain the sUtetman tries; 
All Paris, for Ckimeiu, has Roderick't eyes." 

It is said that in consequence of the Dedl of this tragedy the French 
custom is derived of securing a number of friends to applaud their 
pieces at their first representations. I find the following droll anec- 
dote concerning this droll tragedy in fieauchamp's Recfierches sur 
le The dire. 

The minister, after the ill success of his tragedy, retired unaccom- 
panied the same eveiyng to his country house at Ruel. He then sent 
iHS favourite Desmaret, who was at supper willi his friend Petit Des- 


mareCs, cooJecturiDg thalthe interview would i)e stormy, begged his 
friend to ac^mpany him. 

^^ Well! '' said the Cardinal as soon as he saw them, ^^ the French 
win never possess a taste for what is lofty : they seem not to have 
relished my tragedy/' — "My lord," answered Petit, "it is not the 
faali of the piece, which is so admirable, but that of the players. 
Did not your eminence perceive that not only they knew not their 
parts, tot tha t ttiey were aU drunk?'' — "Really," replied the car- 
dinal ^^c^etmng pleased, " I observed they acted it dreadfully ill." 

Desmarets and Petit returned to Paris, flew directly to the players 
to plao a new mode of performance, which was lo secure a num- 
ber of spectators \ so that at the second representation bursts of ap- 
plaose were frequently heard ! 

Richelieu had another singular vanity of closely imitating Cardinal 
Ximenes. Pliny was not a more servile imitator of Cicero. Marville 
tells us that, like Ximenes, he placed himself at the head of an - 
army*, like him, he degraded princes and nobles; and like him, 
rendered himself formidable to all Europe. And because Ximenes 
bad established schools of theology, RicheUeu undertook likewise to 
raise into notice the schools of the Sorbonne. And , to conclude , as 
Ximenes had written several theological treatises, our cardinal was 
also desirous of lea^g posterity various polemical works. But his 
gallantries rendered him more ridiculous. Always in ill health, 
this miserable lover and grave cardinal would, in a freak of love, 
dress himself with a red feather in his cap and sword by his side. 
He was more hurt by an offensive nickname given him by the queen 
of Louis XIII., than even by the hiss of theatres and the critical 
condemnation of academies. 

Cardinal Richelieu was assuredly a great political genius. Sir Wil- 
Ham Temple observes, that he instituted the French Academy to 
give employment to the wit5^ and to hinder them from inspecting 
loo narrowly his politics and his administration. It is believed that 
the Marshal de Grammont lost an important battle by the orders of 
the cardinal; that in this critical conjuncture of affairs his ms^esty, 
who w*as inclined to dismiss him , could not then absolutely do 
without him. 

Vanity in this cardinal levelled a great genius. He who would 
attempt to display universal excellence will be impelled to practise 
meannesses , and to act fotties which , if he has the least sensibility, 
must occasion him many a pang and many a blush. 


No philosopher has been so much praised and censured as Aris- 
totle : but he bad this advantage , of which some of the most eminent 


scholars have been deprived , that he et^oyed diiriDg his life a splen- 
did reputation. Philip of Macedon must have felt a strong convicUon 
of his merit when he wrote to him on the birth of Alexander : — ,, I 
receive from the gods this day a son ; but I thank ttiem not so much 
for the fevour of his birth, as his having come into the v^ortd al a 
time when you can have the care of his education ; and that through 
you he will be rendered worthy of being my son." 

Diogenes Laertius describes the person of (he SjagJJiSfc* — ^^ 
eyes were small , his voice hoarse , and his legs lank. uesta3iered , 
was fond of a magnificent dress, and wore costly rings. He had a 
mistress whom he toyed passionately, and for whom he ft*efuently 
aoted inconsistently with flie philosophic character; a thing as com- 
mon with philosophers as with other men. Aristotle had nothing of 
the austerity of the philosopher, though his works are so austere : 
he was open , pleasant , and eyen charming in his conversation ; flery 
and volatile in his pleasures; magnificent in his dress. He is descri- 
bed as fierce, disdainAil, and sarcastic. He joined to a taste for 
profound erudition that of an elegant dissipation.. His passion for 
luxury occasioned him such expenses when he was young, thai 
he consumed all his property. Laertius has preserved the will of 
Aristotle, which is curious. The chief part turns on the ftitare wel- 
fare and marriage of his daughter. '^ If, after i&y death , she chooses 
to marry, the executors will be careOul she marri^ no person of 
an inferior rank. If she resides atChalcis, she shall occupy the 
apartment contiguous to the garden; if she chooses Stagyra, she 
shall reside in the house of my father, and my executors shaU ftimish 
either of those places she fixes on.'' 

Aristotle had studied under the divine Plato ; but the discif^ and 
the master could not possibly agree in their doctrines : they were of 
opposite tastes and talents. Flato was the chief of the academic sect, 
and Aristotle Of the peripatetic. Plato was simple, modest, frugal, 
and of austere manners ; a good friend and a zealous citizen , but a 
theoretical politician : a lover indeed of benevolence, and desirous 
of diflTusing it amongst men , but knowing little of them as^we find 
them; his ^^ republic'' is as chimerical as Rousseau's ideas, or Sir 
Thomas More's Utopia. 

Rapin , the critic , has sketched an ingenious piarallel of these twa 
celebrated philosophers. 

The genius of Plato is more polished, and that of Aristotle more 
yast and profound. Hato has a lively and teeming imagination; fei^ 
tile in invention, in ideas, in expressions, and in figures; displaying 
a thousand different turns , a thousand new colours , all agreeable to 
their subject; but after all it is nothing more than imagination. Aris- 
totle is hard and dry in all he says, but what he says is all reason, 


ttiough it is expressed drily : his diction, pure as it is, has some- 
thing uncommoDly austere; and his obscurities, natural or afTectcd, 
disgust and fatigue his readers. Plato is equally delicate in his 
thoughts and in his expressions. Aristotle, though he may he more 
natural, has not any delicacy : his style is simple and equal, but 
close and nervous; that of Plato is grand and elevated, but loose 
and diffuse. Plato always says more than he should say : Aristotle 
never says enough, and leaves the reader always to think more than 
he says. The one surprises the mind, and charms it by a flowery and 
sparidiDg character : the other illuminates and Instructs it by a just 
and s<Hid method. Plato communicates something of genius by the 
fecundity of his own ; and Aristotle something of judgment and rea- 
son by that impression of good sense which appears in all he says. In 
a word, Plato frequently only thinks to express himself well; and 
Aristotle only thinks to think justly. 

An interesting .anecdote is related of these philosophers. — Aris- 
totle became the rival of Plato. Literary disputes long subsisted 
betwixt them. The disciple ridiculed his master and the master treated 
contemptuously his disciple. To make his superiority manifest, Aris- 
totle wrished for a regular disputation before an audience where eru- 
dition and reason might prevail ; but this satisfaction was denied. 

Plafo was always surroundedby his scholars, who took a lively 
interest in his glory. Three of these he taught to rival Aristotle, and 
it became their mutual interest to depreciate his merits. Unfortunate- 
ly one day Plato found himself in his school without these three 
favourite scholars. Aristotle flies to him — a crowd gathers and enters 
with him. The idol whose oracles they wished to overturn was pre- 
sented to them. He was then a respectable old man , the weight of 
whose years had enfeebled his memory. The combat was not long. 
Some rapid sophisms embarrassed Plato. He saw himself surround- 
ed by the inevitable traps of the subtlest logician. Vanquished, he 
reproachedihis ancient scholar by a beautiful figure : — "He has 
kicked against us as a colt against its mother.'' 

Soon after this humiliating adventure he ceased to give public lec- 
tures. Aristotle remained master in the field of battle. He raised a 
school , and devoted himself to render it the most famous in Greece. 
But the three ihvourite scholars of Plato , zealous to avenge the cause 
of their master, and to make amends for their imprudence in having 
quitted him, armed themselves against the usurper, ^enocratcs, 
the most ardent of the three, attacked Aristotle, confounded the 
logician, and re-established Plato in all his rights. Since that time 
the academic and peripatetic sects, animated by the spirits of their 
several chiefs , avowed an eternal hostility. In what manner his works 
ha^e descended to us has been told in this volume in Ihe article Dcs- 


truction of Books. Aristotle baying declaimed irrevereiiUy of the 
gods , and dreading the fate of Socrates , wished to retire from Athens. 
In a beautiful manner he pointed out his successor. There were two 
rivals in his schools : Menedemus the Rhodian, and Theophraslus 
the Lesbian. Alluding dehcately to his own critical situation , he UM 
his assembled scholars that the wine he was accustomed to driidc 
was injurious to him, and he desired them to bring the wines of 
Rhodes and Lesbos. He tasted both , and declared they both did ho- 
nour to their soil, each being excellent, though differing in their 
quality.— The Rhodian wine is the strongest , but the Lesbian is the 
sweetest, and that he himself preferred it. Thus his ingenuity de- 
signaled his favourite Theophrastus, the author of the "Charac- 
ters," for his successor. 


Abblard , so famous for his writings and his amours with Eloisa, 
ranks among the heretics for opinions concerning the Trinity ! His 
superior genius probably made him appear so culpable in the eyes 
of his enemies. The cabal formed against*him disturbed the earlier 
part of his life with a thousand persecutions , till at length they 
persuaded Bernard , his old friend, but who had now turned saint, 
that poor Abelard was what their malice described him to be. Ber- 
nard , inflamed against him , condemned unheard the unfortunate 
scholar. But it is rei!larkable that the book which was btlmt as 
unorthodox, and as the composition of Abelard, was in fact written 
by Peter Lombard, bishop of fiaris : a work which has since been 
canonised in the Sorbonne , and on which the scholastic theology 
is founded. The objectionable passage is an illustration of the Tri- 
nity by the nature of a syllogism! — " As (says he) the three pro- 
positions of a syllogism form but one truth , so the Father and Son 
constitute but one essence. — ^The major represents (fie Father y 
the minor the 6o/i, and the conclusion the Holy Ghost l""^ It is 
curious to add that Bernard himself has explained this mystical 
union precisely in the same manner, and equaUy clear. "The 
underslanding, '' says this saint, " is the image of God. We And it 
consist of three parts : — memory, intelligence, and will. To memory, 
we attribute all which we know, without cogitation ; to intelligence, 
all truths we discover which have not ()een deposited by memory. 
By memory, we resemble the Father-^ by intelligence the Son; 
and by will the Holy Gost. " Bernard's Lib. de Animft, Cap. I. 
Num. 6 , quoted in the " M6m. Seer, de la R^publique des Lettres. '' 
We may add also , that because Abelard , in the warmth of honest 
indignation , had reproved the monks of St. Denis , in France , and 


St GiUKas de Ruys, in Bretagne, for the horrid incontineoce of 
their li?es, they joined his enemies, and assisted to embitter the 
life of ibis ingenious scholar; who perhaps was guilty of no other 
crime ihask tiiat of feeling too sensibly an attachment to one who not 
only possessed the enchanting attractions of the softer sex , but 
what indeed is yery unusual^ a congeniality of disposition , and an 
enffausiasm of imagination. 

** Is it, in heaven, a crime to love too well ?*' 

It appears by a letter of Peter de Quny to Eloisa , that'she had soK- 
cited for Abelard's absolution. The abbot gave it to her. It runs 
thus : " Ego Petrus Ouniacensis Abbas , qui Petrum Ab«elardum in 
monachum Quniacensum recepi, et corpus ejus furtim delatum 
Heloisss abbatissffi et moniali Paracleti concessi , auctoritate omni- 
potentis Dei et omnium sanctorem absolyo eum pro officio ab omni- 
bus peccatis suis. '' 

An ancient chronicle of Tours records that when they deposited 
the fKNly of the Abbess Eloisa in the tomb of her loyer Peter Abe- 
lard, who bad been there interred twenty years, this faithfhl husband 
raised his arms , stretched them , and closely embraced his beloyed 
Eloisa. This poetic fiction was invented to sanctify, by a miracle, the 
frailties of their youthftii days. This is not wonderM :— ^but it is 
strange that Du Ghesne , the father of French history, not only 
relates this legendary tale of the ancient chroniclers , f>ut gives it as 
an incident well authenticated, and maintains its possibility by 
various other examples. Such DEuiciftil incidents once not only em- 
bellished poetry, but enlivened history. 

Bayle tells us that billets doux and amorous ^verses are two 
powerful machines to employ in the assaults of love ; particularly 
when the passionate songs the poetical lover composes are sung by 
himself. This secret was well known to the elegant Abelard. Abelard 
so touched the sensilde heart of Eloisa, and infused such fire into 
her fhune, by employing \a&fine pen and hisjine voice, that the 
poor woman never recovered from the attack. She herself informs 
us that he displayed two qualities which are rarely found in philo- 
sophers, and by which he could instantly win the affections of the 
female ; — ^he wrote and sung finely. He composed lo^e-verses so 
beautiful , and songs so agreable , as well for the words as the 
airs, that all the world got them by heart, and the name- of his 
mistress ^as spread from province to province. 

What a gratification to the enthusiastic, the amorous, the vain 
Eloisa! of whom Lord Lyttelton in his curious Life of Henry II. 
observes , that bad she not been compelled to read the fathers and 
the legends In a nunnery, and had been suffered to improve her 


genius by a eODtinued application to polite literature^ from ^liat 
appears in her letters^ she would have excelled any man of that agc« 

Eloisa, I suspect, however, would have proved but a very indif* 
ferent polemic. She seems to have had a certain delicacy in her 
manners which rather belongs to the fine lady. We cannot but 
smile at an observation of hers on the Apostles which we find in her 
letters. " We read that the apostles ^ even in the comjpany of 
their master, were so rustic and ill-bred that, regardless of common 
decorum, as they passed through the cornfields they plucked the 
ears and ate them like children. Nor did they wash their hands 
before they sat down to table. To eat with unwashed hands, said 
our Saviour to those who were offended, doth not defile a man.'' 

It is on the misconception of the mild apologetical .reply of 
Jesus, indeed , that religious fanatics have really considered that to 
be careless of their dress, and not to free themselves from filth and 
slovenliness , is an act of piety, just as the late political fanatics » 
who thought that republicanism consisted hi the most offensive 
filthiness. On this principle, that it is saint-like to go dirty, ragged, 
and slovenly, says Bishop Lavington, ^^ Enthusiasm of the Metho- 
dists and Papists ,'' how piously did Whitefield take care of the 
outward man, who in his Journals writes, ^^ My apparel was mean — 
thought it unbecoming a penitent to have powdered hair — I wore 
woollen gloves , a patched gown , and dirty shoes! '' 

After an injury, not less cruel than humiliating, Abelard raises 
the school of the Paraclete *, with what enthusiasm is he followed 
to that desert! His scholars in crowds hasten to their adored master. 
They cover their mud sheds with the branches of trees. They care 
not to sleep under better roofs , provided they remain by the ^ide 
ef their unfortunate master. How lively must have been their taste 
for study ! It formed their solitary passion , and the love of glory was 
gratified even in that desert. 

The two reprehensible lines in Pope's Eloisa, too celebrated 
Among certain of its readers — 

** Not Ccsar^s empress would I deign to prove ; 
** No, — make me mistress to the mao I Iotc! '^ — 

are, however, found in her original letters. The author of thai 
ancient work, "The Romaunt of the Rose," has given it thus 
naively 'y a specimen of the natural style in those days : 

Se Tempereur, qai est a Kome 
Soubz qui doyvent ^tre tout Iiomme, 
Me daignoit prendre poor sa ferome > 
£t me faire 4u monde dame^ 


Si Toaldrojv-je mieux, dist-elle 
Kt Diea ca tetmoiog en tppelle 
Estre M pauSne tppelUe 
Qu'estre emperiere coorona^. 


A VERY extraordinary physiognomical anecdote has been given 
by De la Place in his '^ Pieces interessantes et pen connues, " v. 
iv. p. 8. 

A friend assured him that he had seen a yoluminous and secret 
correqiondence which had been parried on between Louis XIY. 
and his favourite physician De la Chambre on this science : the faith 
of the monarch seems to have been great , and the purpose to which 
this correspondence tended was extraordinary indeed , and perhaps 
scarcely credible. Who will belieye that Louis XIY., was so con- 
vinced of that talent which De la Chambre attributed to himself, of 
deciding merely by the physiognomy of persons not only on the 
real bent of their character, Imt to what employment they were 
adapted, that the king entered into a secret correspondence to 
obtain the critical notices of his physiognomist? That Louis XIV. 
should have pursued this system , undetected by his own courtiers, 
is also singular : but it appears by this correq[)ondence thas this art 
positively swayed him in his choice of officers and favourites. On 
one of the backs of ttiese letters De la Chambre had written, " If I 
die before his majesty, he will incur great risk of making many an 
unfortunate choice ! '' 

This collection of physiognomical correspondence , if tt does 
really exist, would form a curious publication^ we have heard 
nothing of it ! De la Chambre was an enthusiastic physiognomist , 
as appears by his works ; '' The Characters of the Passions , '' four 
volumes in quarto^ "The Art of Knowing Mankind; and "The 
Knowledge of Animals. " Lavater quotes his " Vote and Interest " 
in fovour of his favourite science. It is , however, curious to add , 
that Pffilip Earl of Pembroke , under James I. had formed a parti- 
cular collection of portraits , vnth a view to physiognomical studies. 
According io Evelyn on Medals , p. 302 , such was his sagacity in 
c^scovering the characters and dispositions of men by their counte- 
nances, that James I. made no litUe use of his extraordinary talent 
on ihe Jirst arris^al of ambassadors at court. 

The f<^lowing physiological defhiition of Physiognomy is extract- 
ed from a publication by Dr. Gwither, of the year 1604, which, 
dropping his history of '' The Animal Spirits," is curious. 

"Soft wax cannot receive more various and numerous impres- 
sioDs than arc imprinted on a man's face by objects moving his 


affections : and not only the objects themselyes have this power, but 
also the very images or ideas -^ that is to say, any thing that puts 
the animal spirits into the same motion that (he object present did 
will have the same effect with the object. To prove the first, let one 
observe a man's face looking on a pitiftil object , then a ridiculous , 
then a strange , then on a terrible or dangerous object , and so forth. 
For the second, that ideas have the same effect with the object ^ 
dreams confirm too often. 

'^ The manner I conceive to be thus. The animal spirits, moved 
in the sensory by an object, continue their motion to the brain ; 
whence the motion is propagated to this or that particular part of 
the body, as is most suitable to the design of its creation -, having 
first made an alteration in the/oce by its nerves , especially by the 
pathetic and oculorum motorii actuating its many muscles, as the 
dial-plate to that stupendous piece of clock-work which shows what 
is to be expected next from the striking part. Not that I think the 
motion of the spirits in the sensory continued by the impression of 
the object all the way, as from a finger to the foot ; I know it too 
weak, though the tenseness of the nerves favours it. But I conceive 
it done in the medulla of the brain , where is the common stock of 
spirits*, as in an organ, whose pipes being uncovered, the air 
rushes into them^ but the keys let go, are stopped again. Now, if 
by repeated acts of firequent entertaining of a favourite idea of a 
passion or vice, which natural temperament has hurried one to , 
or custom dragged , the/oce is so often put into that posture which 
attends such acts, that the animal spirits find such latent passages 
into its nerves, that it is sometimes unalterably set : as the Indian 
religious are by long continuing in strange postures in their pagods. 
But most commonly such a habit is contracted , that it falls insensibly 
into that posture when some present object does not obliterate that 
more natural impression by a new, or dissimulation hide it. 

'* Hence it is that we see great drinkers with eyes generally set 
towards the nose, the adducent muscles being often employed to 
let them see their loved liquor in the glass at the time of dnnking; 
which were therefore called bibitory. Lasciv^ious persons are re- 
markable for the oculorum nwbilis petulantia y as Petronius calls 
it. From this also we may solve the Quaker's expecting face , wait- 
ing for the pretended spirit •, and the melancholy face of the sectaries; 
the studious face of men of great application of mind ; revengefiil 
and bloody men , like executioners in the acts : and though silence 
in a sort may awhile pass for wisdom^ yet sooner or later, Saint 
Martin peeps through the disguise to undo all. A changeable face 
I have observed to show a changeable mind. But I would by no 
means have what has been said understood as without exception -, 


for I doubl not but sometimes there are found men with great and 
Yirtuous souls under very unpromising outsides/' 

The great Prince of Cond^ was very expert in a sort of physiog- 
nomy which showed the peculiar habits, motions , and postures of 
fomiliar life and mechanical employments. He would sometimes lay 
wagers with his friends , that he would guess, upon the Pont Neuf , ; 
what trade persons were of that passed by, from their walk and air. 


The idea of describhig characters under the names of Musical 
Instruments has been already displayed in two most pleasing papers 
which embellish the Tader , written by Addison. He dwells on this 
idea with uncommon success. It has been applauded for its originon 
Ihy ; and in the general preface to that work , those papers are 
distinguished for their fehcity of imagination. The following paper 
was publi^ied in the year 1700, in a volume of '^ Philosophioal 
Transaction and Collections ,'' and the two numbers of Addison in 
tbe year 1710. It is probable that this inimitable writer borrowed 
the seminal hint from this work. 

'' A conjecture at dispositions ilrom the modulations of the yoice. 

^^ Sitting in some company, and having been but a little before 
musical , I chanced to take notice , that in ordinary discourse words 
were spoken in perfect notes -^ and that some of the company used 
eighths , wmejifihs y some thirds ,* and that his discourse which was 
most pleasing, his words y ds to their tone , conosted most of cot?- 
oordl^^ and were of discords of such as made up harmony. The 
same person was the mo^ affable , pleasant, and besfr-natured in the 
company. This suggests a reason why many discourses which one 
hears with much pleasure, when they come to be read scarcely 
seem ttie same things. 

'"• From this difference of Music hi Speech, we may conjecture 
that of Tempers. We know the Doric mood sounds gravity and 
sobriety, the Lydian, buxomness and freedom; the iEoUc, sweet 
stillness and quiet composure ; the Phrygian , jollity and youthful 
levity ; the Ionic is a stiller of storms and disturbances arising from 
pfl^ion. And why may we not reasonably suppose , that those whose 
speech nahirally runs into the notes peculiar to any of these moods , 
are likewise in nature hereunto congenerous? C Fa ut may show 
me to be of an ordinary capacity, though good disposition. G Sol 
reutyiobQ peevish and effeminate. Flats , a manly or melancholic 
sadness. He who hath a voice which will in some measure agree 
with all cliffs, to be of good parts , and fit for variety of employ- 
ments , yet somewhat of an inconstant nature. Likewise from the 



Times : so sendrbriefs may speak a temper dull and phlegmatic ; 
minims y grave and serious^ crotchets, di prompt wit-, quav^ers , 
vehemency of passion , and scolds use them \ semi-brief-^est , may 
denote one either stupid or fuller of thoughts than he can utter; 
minim-rest y one that deliberates ^ crotchet-rest, one in a passion. 
So that from the natural use of Mood , Note, and Time, we may 
collect Dispositions." 


It is painfull to observe the acrimony which the most eminent 
scholars have infused ft'equentiy in their controversial writings. Tbe 
politeness of the present times has in some degree soAened the ma- 
lignity of the man , in the dignity of the author, but this is by no 
means an irrevocable law. 

It is said not to be honourable to literature to revive such contro- 
versies; and a work entitled ^' Querelles Lilt^raires ,'' when it flra^ 
appeared , excited loud murmurs. But it has its moral ; like showing 
the drunkard to a youth that he may turn aside disgusted willi 
ebriety. Must we suppose that men of letters are exempt flrom tbe 
human passions? Their sensibility, on the contrary, is more irritable 
than that of others. To observe the ridiculous attitudes in which 
great men appear, when they employ the style of the fish-markel , 
may be one great means of restraining that ferocious pride often 
breaking out in the republic of letters. Johnson at least appears to 
have entertained the same opinion ; for he thought proper to repal>* 
lish the low invective iA Dry den against Settle : and since I have 
published my ^^ Quarrels of Authors,** it becomes me tp say no 

The celebrated controversy of Sabnasius continued by Moras 
*^ with Milton — the first the pleader of King Charles, the latter the 
advocate of the people — was of that magnitude, that all Europe took 
ja part in the paper-war of these two great men. The answer of Mil- 
'^ ton , who perfectly massacred Salmasius , is now read but by the few. 
Whatever is addressed to the times, however great may be its me- 
( rit, is doomed to perish with the times; yet on these pages the phi- 

I ' ^* '' ^iosopher will not contemplate in vain. 

It will form no uninteresting article to gather a few of the rhetorical 
weeds, ^ot flowers we cannot well call them, with which they mu- 
I ' tually presented each other. Their nmcour was at least equal to th^ 
erudition, the two most learned antagonists of a learned age! 

Salmasius was a man of vast erudition , but no taste. His vmtings 

are learned; but sometimes ridiculous. He called his work Defensio 

' Jiegia, Defence of Rings. The opening of this work provokes a 


, |r-V^* 


hogiL '^Englislunen! who tow the heads of kmg8 as §o many ten- 
nisballs; who play with crowns as if they were bowls; who look 
opoo sceptres as so many crooks.'' 

That the deformity of the body is an idea we attach to the deform- 
ity of the mind, the vulgar must acknowledge; but surely it is un- 
pardonable in the enlightened philosopher thus to compare the 
crookedness of corporeal matter with the rectitude of the intellect; 
yet Milboume and Dennis , the last a formidable critic , have fte- 
quently considered, that comparing Dry den and Pope to whatever 
Ihe eye turned from with disj^easure was very good argument to 
lower their Mterary abilities. Salmasius seems also to have entertain- 
ed thk idea 9 though his spies in England gave him wrong infor- 
matiOD ; or, possibly, he only drew the figure of his own distempered 

Salmasius sometimes reproaches Milton as being but a puny piece 
of Bian ; an homuocukis, a dwarf deprived of the human figure, a 
bloodless being, composed of nothing but skin and bone ; a contempt- 
ii)le pedagogue, fit only to flog his boys : and rising into a poetic 
ftenxy, apfdies to him fhe words of Virgil, ''Monstrum horren- 
duniy injorme , ingens , cui lumen ademptum.'*'' Our great poet 
thought fills senseless declfffliation merited a serious refutation; 
perhaps he did not wish to appear despicable in the eyes of the 
ladies.; and he would not be silent on the subject , he says , lest any 
one sbould consider him as the credulous Spaniards are made te 
believe J^ liieir priests, that a heretic is a kind of rhinoceros or a 
dog-headed monster, Milton says, that he does not think anyone 
ever considered him as unbeautiful; ttiat his size rather s^proaches 
medioerlty than the (fiminutive; that he still felt the same courage 
and the s»ne strength which he possessed when young , when , with 
his sword, he l<Blt no difficulty to combat with men more robust 
than himsdf; that his fkce, €air from being pale, emaciated, and 
wriiiUed, was sufficiently creditable to him ; for though he had pass- 
ed his fortieth year, he was in allfother respects ten years younger. 
And very pathetically headd^, "that even his eyes, blind as they ] l]\',^ 
are, are unblemished in fteir appearance; in this instance alone , 
and jnuch against my inclination, I am a deceiver! '' 

Moms, injiis Epistle dedicatory ofhhRegii Sanguinis Clamor, 
compares Milton to a hangman ; his disordered vision to the blind- 
ness of his soul , and vomits forth his venom. 

When Salmasius found that his strictures on the person of Milton 
were false, and that on the contrary it was uncommonly beautiful, 
he then turned his f)atlery against those graces with which Nature 
had so lii)erally adorned his adversary. And it is now that he seems 
to have laid no restrictions on his pen ; but raging with the irritation 


128 MiLTON. 

of Milton's success, he throws oul the blackest calimmiefi, and the 
most infamous aspersions. 

It must be observed , when Milton first proposed to answer Sal- 
masius he had lost the use of one of his eyes : and his physicians 
declared, that if he applied himself to the controversy, the other 
would likewise close for ever! His patriotism was not to be ba£Ded 
but with life itself. Unhappily, the prediction of his physicians took 
place! Thus a learned man in the occupations of study falls blind : 
a circumstance even now not read without sympathy. Salmasius 
considers it as one flrom which he may draw caustic ridicule and 
satiric severity. 

Salmasius glories that FMilton lost his health and his eyes in an** 
swering his apology for King Charles ! He does not now reproach 
him with natural deformities ^ but he malignantly sympathises witti 
him , that he now no more is in possession of that beauty which ren- 
dered him so amiable during his residence in Italy. He speaks more 
plainly in a following page \ and in a word, would blacken the aus- 
tere virtue of Milton with a crime infamous to name. 

Impartiality of criticism obliges us to confess that Milton was not 
destitute of rancour. When he was told that his adversary boasted he 
had occasioned the loss of his eyes, he answered, with ferocity — 
" And I shall cost him his life! " A prediction which was soon 
after verified : for Christina, Queen of Sweden, withdrew her patron- 
age from Salmasius, and sided with Milton. The universal neglect 
the proud scholar felt hastened his death in the course of a twelve- 

The greatness of Milton's mind was degraded ! He actually coa-< 
descended to enter into a correspondence in Holland to obtain little 
scandalous anecdotes of his miserable adversary Moms ^ and deigned 
to adulate the unworthy Christina of Sweden , because she had ex- 
pressed herself favourably on his. ^' Defense.'' Of lato years we havp 
had too many instances of this worst of passions ; the antipathies^ 
of politics ! 


We are indepted to the Italians for the idea of newspapers. The 
title of their gazettas was perhaps derived from gazerra, a mag- 
pie or chatterer *, or more probably from a farthing coin, peculiar 
to the city of Venice, called gazetta, which wa& the common price 
of the newspapers. Another etymologist is for deriving it from the 
Latin gaza , which would colloquially lengthen into gazetta , and 
signify a Ktlle treasury of news. The Spanish derive it from the Latin 
gaza, and likewise their gazatero and our gazetteer for a writer 


of the gazette y and , what is peculiar to themselves, gazetista, for 
a hrN of the gazette. 

New8|Hq[)ers ttien took their birth in that principal land of modern 
polificiansv Italy, and under the goyernment of that aristocratical re- 
puHic Venice. The first paper WjBS a Venetian one, and only monttily : 
bat it was merely the newspaper of the goyernment. Other govem- 
ments afterwards adopted the Venetian plan of a newspaper, with the 
Venetian name : firom a solitary goyernment gazette, ai^ inundation 
i)( newspapers nas burst upon us. 

Mr. George Gbahners , in his Ufe of Ruddiman , giyes a curious 
particular of these Venetian gazettes. '^ A jealous goyernment did 
not allow a printed newspaper : and the Venetian gazetta conti- 
nued long alter the inyention o( printing to the close of the sixteenth 
cenliBT, and eyen to our own dayg, to be distributed in manur 
scripL^ In the Magliabechian library at Florence are thirty volumes 
of Venetian gazettas all in manuscript. 

Those who first wrote newspapers were caUed by the Italians 
meiumd'y because , says Tossius , they intended commonly by these 
loose papersto spread about defamatory reflexions , and were there- 
fore prohibited to Italy bf Gregory XIII. by a particular buU , 
under the name of menantes, from the Latin minantesy threaten- 
ing.* Menage, however derives it from the Italian menare , which 
signifi^ to lead at largi , or spread afar.* 

Mr. Chdmers discavers in England the first newspaper. It may 
gratify national pride , says he , to be told that mankind are indebted 
to the wisdom of Elizabeth and the prudence of Burleigh for the first 
newspaper. The epoch of the Sp^ish Armada is also the epoch' of 
a genuine newspaper. In the British Museum are several newspa- 
pers which were printed while the Spanish fleet was in the English 
Channel during the year. 1588. It was a wise policy to prevent, 
during a moment of general anxiety, the danger of false reports , 
by publishing real infbrmation. The Earliest newspaper is entitled 
'' The Eng^h Mercuric ,*' which by authority " was imprinted 
at London by her highnesses printer 1588." These were , however, 
iMit extraordinary gazettes ^ot regularly published. In this obscure 
origin they were skilfully du'ected by the policy of that great states- 
man Burleigh , who, to inflame (he national feeling gives an extract 
of a teller from Madrid which speaks of putting the queeH to death, 
and the instruments of torture on board the Spanish fleet. 

Mr. George Chalmers has exultingly taken down these patriarchal 
newspapers , covered vrith the dust of two centuries. 

The first newspaper in the collection of the British Museum is 
■narked No. 50 , and is in Roman , not in black letter. It contains 
the usual articles of news Hke the London Gazette of the present day. 



In thai curious paper, there are news dated from Whitehall , on the 
23rd July, 1588. Under the date of July 26 there is the foDowing 
notice : '* Yesterday the Scots ambassador, being introduced to Sir 
Francis Walsingham , had a private audience of her majesty, to 
whom he dehvered a letter fVom the king his master ^ contaiobg 
the most cordial assurances of his resolution to adhere to ber ma- 
jesty's interests , and to those *of the protestant religion. And it 
may not here be imprpper to t^e notice pf a wise and ^iritual 
saying of this young prince (he was twenty-two) to flie queen's mi- 
nister at his court , viz. That all Qie favour he did expect from the* 
Spaniards was the courtesy of Polytihome to Ulysses y to be the last 
devoured.''* Mr. Chalmers defies the gazetteer of the present day 
to give a more decorous account of the introduction of a foreign 
minister. The aptness of Kin§ James's classical saying carried 11 
from the newspaper into history. I must add,- that in respect to his 
wit no man has been more injured than this monarch. More pointed 
sentences are recorded of James I. than perhaps of apf prince ; and 
yet, such is the delusion of ihat medium by which the popular eye 
sees things in this world , that he is usually considered as a mere 
royal pedant. 1 have entered more largely on this subject in an " In- 
quiry of the lilcrory and political character of James I." 

In these *^ Mercuties " some advertisements of books run much 
like ihose of the present tinies , and exhibit a picture of the Uterature 
of those days. AU these publication? were " imprinted and sold " by 
the queens' [>nn(t?r!?; , Field an(l Baker. 

1st. An admonition to the people of England , wherein are an- 
swered the slanderous untruths reproachfully uttered by Mar- 
prelate, and others of his brood , against the bishops and chief of 
the clergy '. 

2ndly . The copy of a letter sent to Don Bernardin Mendoza , am- 
bassador in France , for the king of Spain ; declaring the state of 
England , etc. The second edition. 

3rdly. An exact journal of all passages at thQ siege of Bergen-op- 
Zoom. By an eye-witness. 

4thly. Father Parson's coat well dus(^ ; or short and pithy ani- 
madversions on that infamous fardle of abuse and falsitie:» , entitled 
Leicester' s Commonwealth''. 

5thly. Elizabetha Triumphans , an heroic poem, by James 

• I have written the history of the Mar-prelate faction , in ** Quarrels of 
Authors/' which our historians appear not to have known. The materials 
were suppressed hy goYernment, and not preserved even in our national 

' A curious secret history of the Earl of Leicester, by the Jesuit Parson. 



Arite -, wilh a declaration how her excellence was entertained at the 
royal course at Tilbhry, and of the overthrow of the Spanish fleet. 

Pmodical papers seem first to have been more generally used 
by the English, during the dvU wars of the usurper .Cromwell , to • 
^bsennBate amongst the people the sentiments of loyalty or rebel- 
lion , according as their authors were disposed. Peter Heylin , in 
tbeprefoce to his Cb5mog^rapAy,ihentions, that *' the affairs of each 
town , of war, were hotter pre^nted to the reader in the Weehly 
News-books."' Hence we find' some papers entitled News from 
Hun , Truths frcan York , Warranted hidings from Ireland , etc. We 
find also *' The Scots' Dove '' opposed \b " The Pariiament Kite," 
or " The Secret Owl."— Keener animosities produced keener titles : 
^^ Heracllfus ridens " found an antagonist in ^^ Democritus ridens," 
and " The Weekly Discoverer " was shorQ/ met by " The Disco- 
verer stript naked." '^Mercuriut Britannicus" was grappled by 
^^ Mereurius Mastix, faitfafldly lashing all Scouts, Mercuries, Posts , 
Spi», amf others." Under all these names papers had appeared, 
bul'a MeremY ^^ ^^ prevailing title of these '' News-Books," 
and the prin(^les of the writer were gener^y shown by the addi- 
tional epithet We find an alarming number of these Mercuries , 
which , were the story not too long to tell, might excite laughter ; 
they present us with a very curious picture of those singular times. 

Devoted to political ppn[)oses , they soon became a public nuisance 
by serving as receptacl^ of party mal|pe , and echoing to the farthest 
ends of the kingdom the insolent voice of all factions. They set the 
minds of men more at variance, inflamed their tempers to a greater 
fierceness , and gave a keener edge to the sharpness of civil discord. 

Such worics will always find adventurers adapted to their scur- 
riloiis purposes, who neither want at times either talents, or bold- . 
ness , or wit, or argument. A vast crowd issued from the press , and 
are now to he found in private collections. They form a race of 
autb ITS unknown to most readers of these tunes : the names of 
some of their chiefs, howevier, have reached us, and in the minor 
chronicle of domestic literature I rank three notable heroes ; Mar-' 
chamont Needham, Sir John Birkenhead, and Sir Roger L'Eslrange. 

Marchamont Needhaniy the great patriarch of newspaper wri- 
ters, was a man of versatile talents and more versatile politics^ a 
bold adventurer, and most successful, because the most profligate 
of his tribe. From college he came to London ; was an usher in 
Merchant Tailors' school; then an under clerk in Gray's Inn-, at 
length studied physic, and practised chemistry \ and fiimlly he was 
a captain , and in the words of our great literary antiquary, ^' siding 
with the rout and scum of the people, he made them weekly sport 
by railing at all that was noble, in his Intelligence, called Mereurius 


Britannicus, wherein his endeavours were to sacrifice the fame of 
some lord, or any person of quality, and of the king himself, to 
the beast with many heads/' He soon became popular, and was 
* known under the name of Captain Needham of Gray's Inn; and 
whatever he now wrote was deemed oracular. But whether trom a 
slight imprisonment for aspersing Oiarles I. or some pique with 
his own party, he requested an audience on his knees with the king, 
reconciled himself to his msgesty, and showed himself a violent 
royalist in his *' MercHrius Pragmaticus ," and galled the prcsby- 
terians with his wit and quips. Some time afl^r, when the popular 
party prevailed, he w^ stHl i\irlher enlightened, and was got over 
by President Bradshaw, as easily as by Charles I. Our Mercurial 
writer became once more a, virulent presbyterian , and Tashed the 
royalist outrageously in his '^ Mercurius Politicus;'' at length on 
the return of Charles 11. being now conscious , says our cynical 
friend Anthony, that he might be in danger of the halter, once more 
he is «aid to have fled into Holland , waiting for an act oT obUvion. 
For money given to a hungry courtier^ Needham obtained* his 
pardon under the grea) seal. He latterly practised as a physician 
among his party, but lived detested by the royalisis ; and now only 
committed* harmless treasons with the College of Physicians , on 
whom he poured all that gaO and vinegar which the government 
had sui^ressed from flowing through its natural channel. 

The royalists were not without their Needham in the prompt 
activity of Sir John Birkenhead. In buffoonery, keenness , and 
boldness, having been frequently imprisoned, he was not inferior, 
nor was he at fimcs less an adventurer. His " Mercurius Aulicus"* 
was devoted to the court, then at Oxford. But he was the fertile 
parent of numerous political pamphlets , which appe:r to abound 
in banter, wit ^ and satire. Prompt to seize, on every temporary cir- 
cumstance, he had equal facility in execution. His ^^PauFs Church 
Yard '' is a bantering pamphlet , containing fictitious titles of books 
and acts of parliament , reflecting on the mad reformers of those 
times. One of his poems is entitled " The Jolty'' being written on 
the Protector having fallen off his own coach-box : Croraweli had " 
received a present from the German Count Oldenburgh , of six Ger- 
man horses, and attempted to drive them himself in Hyde Park, 
when this great political Phaeton met the accident, of which Sir 
John Birkenhead was not slow to comprehend the benefit, and 
hints how unfortunately for the country it turned out ! Sir John 
was during the dominion of Cromwell an author by profession. 
After various imprisonments for his majesty's cause , says the ve- 
nerable historian of English literature , ahready quoted , ^^ he lived 
by his wits , in helping young gentlemen out at dead lifls in making 


poens, soDgs , and epistles* on and to their mistresses ; as also in 
traodaling, and other petite employments/' He lived however after 
(he Restoration to become one of the muSters of requests, with a 
satery of 3000/. a year. But he showed the baseness of his spirit, 
sifs Anthony, by slighting those who had been his benefactors in ' 
his necessities. 

Sir Roger L' Estrange among his rivals was esteemed asjlhe 
most perfecUqodel of pcditical writing. Re was a strong party-writer 
oA the government side , foi' Charles the Second , and the compo- 
sitions of fStke author seem to us coarse, yet they contain much idio- 
matic expression. His iElsop's Fables are a curious specimen of 
familiar style. Queen Mary showed a' due contempt of him after the 
Revolution, by this anagram : — 

Roger L' Estrange , 
Lye strange Roger f 

Sqc]i were {|ie three patriarchs of newspapers. De Skiint Foix 
gir€s the origin of newspapers to France. Renaudot, a physician 
at Paris , lo amuse his patients was a great collector of news ; and 
be found by thes^ means that he was more sought after than his 
learned brethren. Butias ttie seasons were not always siokly, and he 
had many hoars not occupied by his patients, he reflected , after 
several yeai% of assiduity given up to this singular. employment, 
that he njight turn it to a befter account , by giving every week to 
his patients, who in this case were the public at large, some fugi- 
lijpe ^eets which should contain the news of various countries. He 
obtained a privilege for thisjpurpose in 1632. * 

At the Restoration the proceedihgs of parliament were interdict- 
ed to be published, unless. by authority-, and the first daily paper 
after the Revolution took the, popular title of " The Orange Intel- 

Bi the reigp of Queen y^nne, ttiere was Imt one daily paper ^ the 
others were weekly. Some attempted to introduce literary suf^ects , 
and others topics of a more general speculation. Sur Richard Steele 
fonned the plan of his Tatler.. He designed it to embrace the three 
provinces, of manners and morals, of literature, and of politics. 
The public were to be conducted insensibly into so different a track 
tmk that to which they had been hitherto accustomed. Hence po- 
litics were admitted into his paper. But it remained for the chaster 
gems of Addison to banish this painful topic from his elegant 
pages. The writer in polite letters felt himself degraded by sinking 
into the diurnal narrator of political events, which so frequenfly 
originate in rumours and party fictions. From this time, newspapers 
and periodical literature became distinct works — at present, there 


seems to be an attempt to revive this union ; it is a retrograde step 
for tbe independent dignity of literature^ 



The strange trials to which those Quq>ected of gulR were put in 
the' middle ages , conducted with many devout cerempnies by the 
ministers of religion, were pronounced to be the judgments of God! 
The ordeal consisted of various kinds : walkfng blindfold amidst 
burning ploughshares^ passing tiirough fires; holding in the hand 
a red hot bar ; and plunging the arm into boiling water': the popular 
affirmation ,-^^^ I will put my hand in the fire to confirm this ,'' was 
derived fh>m this custom of our rude ancestors. Challenging the ac- 
cuser to single combat , when frequently the stoutest champion was 
allowed to supply their place; swallowing a morsel of consecrated 
bread ; shdLing or swimming in a river lor witchery ; or w^ghing 
a witeh ; stretching out the arms before the cross , tin the champion 
soonest wearied dropped his* arms , and lost his estate, wliich was 
decided by this very short chancery suit, called t)Le judicium cm- 
cis. The bishop of Paris and the abbot of St^ Denis disputed about 
the patronage of a monastery : Pepin the Short, not being able to 
decide on their confused cl^tiiiis , decreed one of these Judgments of 
God , that of the Cross. The bishop an(^ a^boC each chose a man , 
and f>oth the men appeared in th« chapel , where th^y stretched out 
their arms in the form of a 'cross. The spectators, more devout than 
the mob of the present day, but still the mob, were piously attentive, 
but belted however iy>w for one man , now for the other, and critF 
cally watched tbe slightest motion of the anns. The bishop's man 
was first tired : — he let his arms fall, and ruined his patron's cause 
for ever. Though sometimes these trials might be eluded by the arti- 
fice of the priest, numerous were the innocent victims who unques- 
tionably suffered in these superstitious practices. 

From the tenth to the twelfth century they were common. Hilde- 
bert , bishop of Mans , being accused of high treason by our William 
Rufus, was prepared to undergo one of these trials \ when Ives, bi- 
shop of Ghartres , convinced him that they were against the canons of 
the constitutions of the church and adds , that in this manner Inno- 
centiam defendere, est innocentiam perdere. 

An abbot of St. Aubin of Angers in 1066 , having refused to pre- 
sent a horse to the Viscount of Tours , which the viscount claimed 
in right of his lordship, wheuever an abbot first took possession of 
that abbey *, the ecclesiastic offered to justify himself by the trial of 
the ordeal, or by duel , for which he proposed to fbmish a man. The 

IK suPERsirnous ages. is& 

Tiseomit at first agreed to ttie duel ; bat , reflecting thai these com^- 
Inls, though sanctioned by the church, depended wholly on the 
ddll or vigour of the adversary, and could therefore afford no sub- 
slantial proof of the equity of his claim , he proposed to compromise 
Ibe matter in a manner which strongly characterises the times : he 
waived his claim ^ on condition that the abbot should not forget to 
mention In his prayers hims^, his wife, and his brothers ! As the ori-- 
sons appeared to ftie abbot , in comparison with the horse , of little 
or 00 value , he accepted thf proposal. 

Id the tenth century ttie right of representation was not fixed : it 
was a question , whether the sons of a son ought to be reckoned 
ameogh the children of the family -, and succeed equally with their 
QDdes, if their fatliers happened to die while their grandfathers sur- 
Ti?ed. This point was decided by one of these combats. Thecham- 
pion in behalf of the right of childven to represent their deceased 
father proved yictorloas. It was then established by a perpetual de- 
cree (hat they should thenceforward slure in the inheritanco, toge- 
ther with their uncles. In the eleventh century the same mode was 
practised to 4ecide respecting twt> rival Liturgies ! A pair of knights, 
clad in complete armour, were the critics to decide which was the 

If two neighfiours , say the capitularies of Dagobert , dispute res- 
pecting the boundafies <tf their possessions, let a piece of turf of the 
contested land be dug up by the Judge , and brought by him into the 
court; the two parties shall touch it with the points of their swords^ 
caUiDg on God as a witness of their claims;— after this let them 
comAot^ and let victory decide on their rights ! 

In Germany, a solemn circumstance was practised in these judi- 
cial combats. In the midst of the lists they placed a bier.—Bj its side 
stood the accuser and the accused ; one at the head and the other at 
the l)ot of the bier , and leaned there for some time in profound 
silence, before they began the combat. 

The mannere of the age are faithftilly painted in the ancient Fa- 
Wianx. The judicial combat is introduced by a writer of the four- 
teenth century in a scene where PUate challenges Jesus Christ to 
single combat. Another describes the person who pierced the side 
of Christ as a knight who jousted with Jesus. 

Judicial combat appears to have been practised by the Jews. 
Whenever the rabbins had to decide on a dispute about property 
between two parties, neither of which could produce evidence to 
substantiate his claim , they terminated it by single combat. The rab- 
bins were impressed by a notion that consciousness of right would 
give additional confidence and strength to the rightftil possessor. It 
nwy, however, be more philosophical to observe that such judicial 


eombs^ts were more freqaently favourable to the crimiliai than te-fhe 
innocent, because the bold wicked man is usually more ferocious 
and hardy than he whom he singles out as his yictim , and wlio only 
wishes to preserye his own quiet enjoyment : — in, ibis case Ihe as- 
sailant is the more terribje combatant. 

Those accused of robbery were put to trial by a piece of barley- 
bread , on which the mass has been said ^ which if they- could not 
swallow , they were .declared guilty. This mode of trial wai impro- 
ved by adding to the bread a ^ce of cheese^ sni such waa their 
credulity, that they were very particular in this holy bread and 
cheese called the corsned. The bread was to be of unleavened bailey, 
and the cheese made of ewe's milk in the month of May. ' - 

Du Cange observed, that Ihe expres»on — '' May Ms piece of 
bread choke me!'' comes Ihim this custom. The anecdote of Earl 
Godwin's death by swallowing a piece of bread , in making this as^ 
severation , is recorded in our history. Doubtless superstition would 
often terrify the innocent person , in the attempt of swallowing a 
consecrated morsel. 

Among the proofe of guilt in superstitiius ages w^s that of the 
bleeding of a corpse. It was believed that'at the touch or approach 
of the murderer the blood gush^ out of the murdered. By the side 
of the bier, if the slightest change was observable in the eyes ,ilie 
mouth , feet ^ or hands of the corpse , the murderer was oenjeotur^d 
to be present , and many innocent spectators must have suffered 
death. ^^ When a body is full of blood ^ warmed by a sudden exterr 
nal heat and apuCl^factioa coming on , some of the blood-vessels will 
burst, as they will all in time." This practice was onceallo^wd in 
England , and is still looked on in sqme of the uncivUised parts 
of these kingdoms as a detection of the criminal. It fibrms a solemn 
. picture in the histories and ballads of our (4d writers. 

Robertson observes that all these absurd mstitutions were cherish- 
ed from the superstitious of the age b^eving the legendary histories 
of those saints , who crowd and disgrace the Roman c^endar. These 
fabulous miracles had been declared authentic by the bulls of the 
popes and the decrees of councils \ they were greedily swallowed by 
the populace ; and whoever believed that the Supreme Being had in- 
terposed miraculous^ on those trivial occasions mentioned -in le- 
gends , could not but expect the intervention of heaven in 4hesemost 
solemn appeals. These customs were a substitute for written laws , 
which that barbarous period had not \ and as no society can exist 
without laws, the ignorance of the people had recourse to these 
customs, which , evil and absurd as they were, closed endless con- 
troversies. Ordeals are in truth the rude laws of a barbarous people 
who have not yet obtained a written code , and not s^fficientiy ad- 


fiBced iiteiYiHsattOD to enter into the refined in(iuiries , the subtile 
disfiiietions , ttnd elai)orate investigations , which a court of law 

These ordeals proi^ably onginale in that one of Moses called the 
" Waters of Jealousy ?'' The Greeks likewise had ordeals , for in the 
Antigoams ^f Sophocles, the soldiers offer to prove their innocence 
hy handliDg red-hot iron ,'and walking between fires. One cannot 
bat smile at the whimsical ordeals of the Siamese. Among other prac-^ 
tices to dfecoyer the Justice of a cause , civil or criminal , they are 
pcB^eularly attached to using certain consecrated purgative pills, 
which they make the contending parties swallows. He who retains 
them loDgestgain^ his cause ! The practice of giving Indians a con- 
secrated grain of rice to swallow is known to discover the thief, m 
any comply, by the contortions and dismay evident on the counto- 
nance of the real tlllef. 

In-tbe middle ages tUty were acquainted with secrets to pass 
unhurt these singular trials. Voltaire mentions one for undergoing 
the ordeal of billing water. Our late travellers in the East have con- 
fim^ this statement. The Mevleheh dervises can hold red-hot iron 
between their teeth. Su^h artifices have been often publicly exhibit- 
ed at Paris and London. Mr. Sharon Turner observes on the ordeal 
of the Anglo-Saxons , that the hand was not to be immediately iu- 
q)ected , and was left to the chance of a good constitution to be so 
Hv healed duiffng three days ( the time they rehired to be bound up 
and sealed , before it was examined) as to discover those appear- 
ttices when inspected, which were allowed to be satisfactory. There 
was likewise much preparatory training,- suggested by the more 
experienced; besides the accused had an opportunity oi going alone 
into the church , and making terms with the priest. The few spec- 
tators were always distant ; and cold iron might be substituted, and 
the &e diminished at the moment. 

' They possessed secrets and medicaments , to pass through there 
trials in perfect security. An [anecdote of tiiese times may serve to 
show their readiness. A rivalship existed between the Ausiin-friars 
and the Jesuits. The father-general of the Austhi-fyiars was dining 
with the Jesuits -, and when the table was removed , he entered into 
a formal discourse of the superiority of the monastic order, and char- 
ged the Jesuits, in unqualified terms, with assuming the title of 
** fratres ," while they held not the three vo)¥S , which other monks 
were obliged to consider as sacred and binding. The general of the 
Austin-friars was very eloquent and very authoritative i — ^And the 
superior of the Jesuits was very unlearned ^ but not half a fool. 

The Jesuit avoided entering the list of controversy with the Austin- 
friar, but arrested his triumph by asking him if he would see one 


of bis friars , who pretended to be nothing more than a Jteuit , and 
one of the Aiistin-ft*iars who religiously performed the ^aforesaid 
three vows , show ihstantly which of them would be the readier to 
obey his superiors ? The Austin-friar consented. The Jesuit then 
turning to one of his brothers , the holy friar Mark , who was wait- 
ing on them, said, ^^ Brother Mark, our ccHnpanions are cold. 
I command you , in virtue of the holy obedience you have sworn to 
me , to bring here instantly out of the kitchen-fire , and in your 
hands , some burning coals , that they may warm themselves over 
your hands.'' Father Mark instantly obeys, and 4o the astonishment 
of the Austin-fHar, brought in his hands a supply of red burning coais, 
and held them to whoever chose to warm himself; an(k at the com- 
mand of his superior returned them to the kitchen-hearth. The ge- 
neral of the Austin-friars , with the rest of his brotherhpod , stood 
amazed ; he looked wistfully ob one of his monUs , as if he wished to 
command him to do the like. But the Austin monk, whp perteollf 
understood him , and saw this was not a time to hesitate , observed , 
— '^ Reverend father, forbear, and do not command me to tempi 
God ! I am ready to fetch you fire in a chafing-dish , but not in my 
bare hands.'' The triumph of the Jesuits was complete *, audit is not 
necessary to add , that the miracle was noised about , and that the 
Austin-friars could never account for it , notwithstanding their strict 
performance of the three vows ! 


INNOGZNT the Third , a pope as entmprising as he was successfVil 
in his enterprises , having sent Dominic with some missionaries into 
Languedoc , these men so irritated the heretics they were sent to 
convert , that most of them were assassinated at Toulouse in the year 
1200. He called in the aid of temporal arms , and published against 
them a crusade, granting , a^ was usual with the popes on similar 
occasions , all kinds of indulgences and pardons to those who should 
arm against these Mahometans, so he styled these unfortunate Lao- 
guedocians. Once all were Turks when they were not Romanists. 
Raymond , Count of Toulouse, was constrained to submit. The inha- 
bitants were passed on the edge of the sword , without distinction of 
age or sex. It was then he established that scourge of Eurq[>e, The 
Inquisition. This pope considered that, though men might be 
compelled to submit by arms, numbers might remain professing 
particular dogmas ; and he established this sanguinary tribunal solely 
to inspect into all families, and inquire concerning all persons who 
they imagined were unfiriendly to the interests of Rome. Dominid did 
so much by his persecuting inquiries , that he firmly established the 
inquisition et Toulouse. 


Notteftnre tfaeyear 1484 it became known in l^n. To auother 
ItaiDinican, John de Torqaemada, the court of Rome owed this 
obligation. As he was the confessor of Queen Isabella, he had ex- 
torted firom her a promise that if eyer she ascended the throne , she 
ivould iiae every means to extirpate heresy and heretics. Ferdinand 
tiad conquered Grenada , and had expelled fh)m the Spanish realms 
nnltitiides of unfortunate Moors. A few remained, whom , with the 
fewB , he compelled to become Christians : they at least assumed 
Sie name -, but it was well known ttiat both these nations naturally 
respected their own fidth , rather than that of the Christians. This 
r»» was afterwards distingui^ed as Chrisdanos Noifos; and in 
forming marriages, the blood of the Hidalgo was considered to lose 
its purity by minghng wilh such a suspicious source. 

Torquemada pretended that this dissimulation would greatly hurt 
the interests of Uw holy religioA. The queen listened with respeotftd 
diflOdcsice |o her confessor ; and at length gained oyer the king to 
consult to the estabUshment of this unrelenting tribunal. Torque- 
mada, indefatigable in his zeal for the holy chair, in the space of 
fourteen years that he exercised the office of chief inquisitor, is said 
to haye prosecuted near eighty ttiousand persons , of whom six thou- 
sand were condemned to the flames. 

Voltaire attributes the taciturnity of the Spaniards to the uniyersal 
horror such proceedings spread. ^^ A general jealousy and suspicion 
took possession of all ranks of people : fHendship and sociability were 
at an end! Brothers were afraid of brothers, fathers of their childfen.'' 

lie situation and the feelings of one imprisoned in the cells of 
the inquisition are forcibly painted by Orobio , a mild , and meek , 
and learned man*, whose controyersy with Limborch is well known. 
When be escaped from Spain he took refuge in Holland, was cir- 
cumcised, and died a philosophical Jew. He has left this admirable 
description of himself in the cell of the inquisition. ^^ Inclosed in 
ftis dungeon I could not eyen find space enough to turn myself 
lAout; I suffered so much that I felt my brain disordered. I flre- 
qaently asked myself, am I really Don Bathazaar Orobio who used 
to walk about Seyille at my pleasure, who so greatly enjoyed myself 
with my wife and children? I often imagined that all my life had 
only been a dream , and that I really had been born in this dungeon ! 
The only amusement I could inyent was metaphysical disputations. I 
was at once opponent, respondent , and prseses ! '' 

In the cathedral at Saragossa is the tomb of a famous inquisitor ; 
six pillars surround this tomb ; to each is chained a Moor, as prepa- 
ratory to his I)eing burnt. On this St. Foix ingeniously obseryes, 
" If ever the Jack Ketch of any country should be rich enough to 

140 INQDlSrnON. 

bate a splendki tomb, this might senre as «o ^aceHent model/' 

The inquisition punished heretics by fire, to dude the maxim , 
Ecdesia non nos^it sanguinem; for burning a man, say they, 
does not shed his blood* Otho , the bishop at the Norman inyasion , 
in the tapestry worked by Matilda the queen of William, the Con- 
queror, is represented with a mace in his hand , for the purpose that 
when he despatched his «uitagonist he niight not spill blood, but 
<Hily Ixe^ his bones I Refigion has had her quibbles as well as-law. 

The estaUishment of this despotic order was resisted in FranCQ ; 
but it may perhaps surprise the reader that a recorder of London , 
in a speech, urged the necessity of setting up an inquisition in En- 
gland ! It was on the trial of Penh the Quaker, in 1670 , who was 
acquitted by the jury , which highly provoked the said recorder. 
^^ Magna Charia,'' writes the prefacer to the trial, *^ with the re- 
corder of London , is nothing mc^ than Magna F ! '' It apr 

pears that the jury, after being kept two days and two nights4o alter 
their verdict , were in the end beth fined and imprisoned. Sir Jofaii 
HoweU , the recorder, said , '^ Till now I never understood the v&dr 
son of the policy and prudence of the Spaniards in suffering the in* 
quisition among them ; and certainly it will not be well with us , till 
something like unto the Spanish inquisition be in EnglanJt, " 
Thus it will ever be, while both parties struggling for the pre-emi- 
nence rush to the sharp extremity of things , and annihilate the trem- 
bling balance of the constitution. But }he adopted motto (^ Lord 
Erskine must ever be that of every Briton, " Trial by Jury.'' 

So late as the year 1761 , Gabriel Malagrida, an old man of seventy, 
was burnt by these evangelical executioners. His trial was printed at 
Amsterdam , 1762, from the Lisbon copy. And for what was this 
unhappy Jesuit condemned? Not, as some have imagined, for his 
having been concerned in a conspiracy against the king of Portugal. 
No other charge is laid to him in this trial but that of having indulged 
certain heretical notions, which any other tribunal but that of the 
inquisition would have looked upon as the delirious fancies of a 
fanatical old man. Will posterity believe that in the eighteenth cen- 
tury an aged visionary was led to the stake for having said, 
amongst other extravagances , that " The holy Virgin having com- 
manded him to write the life of Anti-Christ, t<kd him that he, Mala- 
grida , was a second John , but more clear than John the Evangelist \ 
that there were to be three Anti-Ghrists, and that the last should be 
born at Milan , of a monk and a nun , in the year 1 920 \ and that he 
would marry Proserpine, one of the/infemal furies!" 

For such ravings as these the unhappy old man was burnt in 
recent times. Granger assures us that in his remembrance a horse 
that had been taught to tell the spots upon cards, the hour of the 


day^ etc. by significant tokens, ^as , together with his owner , put 
into the inquisition for both of them dealing with the devil ! A nan 
of leUers deetared (hat , having fallen into their hands , nottiing 
peq[dexed him so much as the ignorance of the inquisitor and his 
couneH : and it seemed very doubtftil whether they had read evm 
the scrq)tur^sr 

One of the nmt interesting anecdotes relating to the terrible in- 
quisition , exemplifying how the use of the diabolical engines of 
torture forces men to confiess crimes they have notbfeen guilty of, 
was related to me by a Portuguese gentleman. 

A nobleman in Lisbon haviilg heard that his physician and fHend 
was imprisoned by (he inquisition , under the stale pretext of Judaism, 
aOdressed a letter to one of fliem to request his f)reedom, assuring the 
inquisitor ttiat his friend was as orthodox a christian as himself. The 
physician, notwithstanding this high Tecommendation , was put to 
the torture ; and , as was usually the case , at the height of his suffer- 
ings confessed every thing (hey wished. This enraged the nobleman, 
and feigning a dangerous illness be begged the inquisitor would 
oone to give' him his last spiritual aid. 

. As soon as the Dominican arrived, the lord , who had prepared 
his confidential servants, commanded the inquisitor in their pre- 
sence to acknowledge Mmsdf a Jew, to write his confession, and 
to sign it. On the refusal of the inquisitor, the nobleman ordered his 
people to put on the inquisitor's head a red-hot helmet , which to 
his astonishment, in drawing aside a screen, he beheld glowing in 
a small Airnace. At the sight of this new instrument of torture , 
*^ Luke's iron crown,'' the monk wrote and sui)scrii)ed the abhorred 
confession. The nobleman then observed , ^' See now the enormity 
of your manner of procee(]ing wi^ unhappy men ! My poor physi- 
cian, like you, has confessed Judaism^ but witti this difference, 
only torments have forced that fh)m him whiqh fear alone has drawn 

The inqui^tion has not failed of receiving its due praises. Macedo, 
a Portuguese Jesuit , has discovered the *' Origin of the Inquisition'^ 
in tiie terrestrial Paradise , and presumes to allege that God was 
(he first who i>egan the functions of an inquisitor over Gain and the 
workmen of Babel ! Macedo, however, is not so dreaming a person- 
age as he appears^ for he obtained a professor's chair at Padua for 
the argumrats he delivered at Venice against the pope, which were 
published by the title of '' The literary Roarings of the Lion at St. 
Mails: -, '' besides h^ is the author of 109 different works ; but it is 
curious to observe how f^ our interest is apt to prevail over our 
conscience, — ^Maced# praised the Inquisition up to the skies , while 
he sank the pope te nothing ! 


Among the great rerohitions of this age , and since the Idst editioil 
of these yolumes y the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal is abolished 
— ^but its history enters into that of the human mind ; and the history 
of the inquisition by Limborch , trandated by Chandler, with a very 
curious *'' Introduction ,'' loses none of its value with the philosophi- 
cal mind. This monstrous tribunal of human opinion^ fAmei at the 
sovereignty of the intellectual world, without intellect. 

In these changeful times , the history of the Inquisition is not the 
least mutable. The Inquisition which was aboli^ed has again been 
restored — and at the present moment ,* I know not whether it is 
restored or abolished. ^ 



The philosophical compiler of T Esprit des Usages et des 
Coutumes has arranged the greater part of the present article. 

The Maldivian islanders eat alone. They retire into the most hidden 
parts of their houses; and they draw down the cloths that serve as 
blinds to their windows , that they may eat unobserved. This custom 
probably arises from the savage , in early periods of society, con- 
cealing himself to eat : he fears that another with as sharp an appetite, 
but more strong than himself, should come and ravish his meal 
from him. The ideas of witchcraft are also widely spread among 
barbarians ; and they are not a little fearful that some incantatioa 
may be thrown among their victuals. 

In noticing the sditary meal of the Maldivian islander, another 
reason may be alleged for this misanthropical repast. They never 
will eat vrith any one who is inferior to th^m in birth , in riches , or 
dignity-, and as it is a difficult matter to seitle this equality, they are 
condemned to lead this unsociable life. 

On the contrary, the islanders of the Philippines are remarkably 
sociable. Whenever one of them finds himself without a companion 
to partake of his meal , he runs till he meets with one ; and we are 
assured that , however keen his appetite may be, he ventures not to 
satisfy it without a guest: 

Savages (says Montaigne), when they eat, ^^S^essuient les 
doigts aux cuisses y h la bourse des genitoires , et a la plants 
des pieds.'' We cannot forbear exulting in the polished conve- 
nience of napkins ! 

The tables of the rich Chinese shine with a beautiful varnish , and 
are covered with silk carpets very elegantly worked. They do not 
make use of plates , knives, and forks : every guest has two tttde 
ivory or ebony sticks , which he handles very adroitly. 


The Olaheiteaiis , who are naturally sociable , and yexj gentle in 
their manners,, feed separately from each other. At the hour of re- 
past, the members of each family divide^ two brothers , two sisters , 
and even husband and wife, father and mother, have each their 
respective basket. They place themselves at the distance of two or 
Oiree yards from each other-, they turn their backs , and take their 
meal in profound silence, ^ 

The custom of drinking at different hours from those assigned for 
eating is to be met with amongst many savage nations. It was origi- 
nally begun (torn necessity. It became a habit, which subsisted 
even when the fountain was near to them. A people transplanted , 
observes our ingenious philosopher, preserve in another climate 
modes of Uving which relate tojthose fh)m whence they originally 
came. It is thus the Indians of Brazil, scrupulously abstain from eat- 
ing when they drink, and flrom drinking when they eat. 

When neither decency nor politeness is known , the man who 
invites his friends to a repast is greatly embarrassed to testify his 
esteem for his gpests^ and to present them with some amusement ; 
for the savage guest imposes on him this obligation. Amongst the 
greater part of the American Indians , the host is continually on the 
watch to solicit them to eat, but, touches nothing himself. In New 
France, be wearies himself with singing, to divert the company 
while they eat. 

When civilisation advances, men wish to show their confidence 
to their friends : Ij^ey treat their guests as relations^ and it is said 
that in China the master of a house , to give a mark of his politeness, 
Asents himself while his guests regale themselves at his table with 
undisturbed revelry. 

The demonstrations of friendship in a rude state have a savage and 
gross character, which it is not a little curious to observe. The 
Tartars j[)ul] a man by the ear to press him to drink, and Uiey con- 
tinue tormenting him till he opens his mouth , then they clap their 
hands and dance before him. 

No customs seem more ridiculous than those practised by a 
Ramschatkan, when he wishes to make another his friend. He 
first invites him to eat. The host and his guest strip themselves in a 
cabm which is heated to an uncommon degree. While the guest 
devours the food with which they serve him, the other continually 
stirs the fire. The stranger must bear the excess of the heat as well 
as of the repast. He vomits ten times before he will yield j but, at 
length obliged to acknowledge himself overcome, he begins to 
compound matters. He purchases a moment's respite by a present 
<^ clothes or dogs^ for his host threatens to heat the cabin, and 
oblige him to eat till he dies. The stranger has the right of relalia- 


tion allowed to Mm : he treats in the same manner, and exacts the 
same presents. Should his host not accept the invitation of him 
whom he had so handsomely regaled, in that case the guest would 
take possession of his cabin , till he had the presents returned to 
him which the other had in so singular a manner obtained. 

For this extravagant custom a curious reason has been alleged. I^ 
is meant to put the person to a trial, whose friendship is sought. The 
Kamlschadale , who is at the expense of the fires , and the repast ,- is 
desirous to know if the stranger has the strength to suppoit pain ' 
with him , and if he is generous enough to share with, him some part 
of Ids property. While the guest is employed on his meal , he con- 
tinues heating the cabin to an insupportable degree ; and for a last 
proof of the stranger's constancy apd attachment , he exacts moiv 
clothes and more dogs. The host passes through the same ceremonies 
in the cabin of the stranger; and he shoWs, in his turn , with what • 
degree of fortitude tie can defend his friend. The most singular 
customs would appear simple, if it were possible for the philosopher ' 
to understand them on the spot. 

As a distinguishing mark bf their esteem , the negroes of Ardra 
drink out of one cup at the same time. The king of Loango eats in 
one house, and drinks in another. A Kamschatkan kneeis before his 
guests; he cuts an enormous slfce from a sea-calf; he crams it entire 
into the mouth of his friend, ftiriously crying out "TanaT* — Therel 
and cutting away what hangs about his lips^ snatches and swallows 
it with avidity. 

A barbarous magnificepce attended the feasts of the ancient mon-. 
archs of France. After tlieir coronation of consecration , when they 
sat at table, the nobility served them on horseback. 


Saint Chrysostom has this very acute observation on )(mgs : 
many monarchs are infected with a strange wish that their successors 
may turn out bad princes. Good kings desire it, as they imagine , 
continues this pious politician , that their glory will appear the more 
splendid by the contrast; and the bad desire it, as they consider such 
kings will serve to countenance their own misdemeanors. 

Princes, says Gracian, are willing to be aided, but not surpassed; 
which maxim is thus illustrated. 

A Spanish lord having frequently played at chess with Philip II. 
and won all the games, perceived, when his majesty rose from play, 
that he was much ruffled with chagrin. The lord, when he returned 
home, said to his family, — " My children , we have nothing more 
to do at court : there we must expect no favour ; for the king is 


eoMj dependBOD Ibe geniiis of te plaTers? and aoi on fortune , 
£iog Pbilip Ihe cheHS-player, conoeived he ought to suffer do riTal. 

l^aiqpeanBtiUdearerJ^y theafieodote toMof CheEarlof Sunder- 
bod, miiHsier to George I., who was partial to the game of chess. 
He once plajed with the Laird of <auiiy,ai)d the learned Gum^ 
te editor of Htaace* Cunningham, nrith too much ricill and too 
mnehsiBcerUy, i)eat his lordship. '^ The eari was so fretted at his 
superiority and surliJiess, that he distfiissedhiiA without any reward. 
Quoy allowed himself sometimes to be beaten ; and by that means 
got Ids pardon, wifli somellung handsome besides.'* 

Ib ibt Critioon of Graeian , (here is a singular anecdote relative 

A Polish monarch having cpiitted his companions when he was 
baatuig, his courtiers foMd him , a few days after, in a market- 
place, disguised as a porter, and lending out the uaeof his shoulders 
for a few penoe. At this they were as much surprised as they were 
doobtfol at first whether On porter could be his "majesty. At Jeugth 
they Teniured to express their complaints that so great a personage 
should debase himself by so irfle an employment. His-majesty having 
beard tfaem, replied, '^Upon my honour, gentlemen, the load 
which I quitted is by Ihr heavier than the one you see me carry here : 
the weif^tiesl is but a str^w , i^en ooropM^d to that world under 
wMch I laboured. I have slept more in four nights than I have 
during an my reign. I begin to livl3, and to be king of myself. Elect 
wtaem you choose. For me , who am so well , it iirere madness to 
retom to ooicrt." Another Polish king , who succeeded this philo- 
sophic monarchical porter, when they placed the sceptre in his 
haad, exclaimed, — ^^ I had rather tug at an oarT The vacillating 
fortunes of the Polish nMmarehy present several of these anecdotes; 
Iheir monarehs appear to have frequently been philosophers ; and , 
ai the world is made, an excellent philosopher proves but an indif- 

Two observations on khigs were offered to a <50urtier with great 
naSkieiebf that experienced politician the Duke of Alva.— '^ Rings 
vho affect to be familiar wUh their companions make use of men as 
Ihey do of oranges; they take oranges to extract their juice ; and 
when they are well sucked they throw them away. Take care the 
king does net do the same lo you*, be careful that he does not read 
all your thoughts •, otherwise he will throw you aside to the back of 
hi5 chest, as a book of which he has read enough." " The squeezed 
orange," the king of Prussia applied in his dispute with Voltaire. 

When it was suggested to Dr. Johnson that kings must be unhappy 
hecause Ib^ are deprived of the greatest of aU satisfactions ,easy 


146 MOnARGHS. 

aod uiireseFved society, heofwerred that Uiis waganHM^^ 
^^ Being a Idog does not exclude a man firom sueli society. Great 
kings Imve always fieen social. Tfate king of Pnisaia , tiie only great 
luQg at present (ttiis was thb grba.t Frederic) is very social. Charles 
the Second, the last king of England who was a man of parte, was 
social -, <mr Henries and Edwards were all social.'^ 

The marquis of Halifax , in his character of Gharies n. , bas 
exhit^ted a trait in the royal character of a good-natured monar^; 
that trait, is sauntering. I transcribe this curious obsenraHon , 
which introduces us into a levee. 

'^ There was as much of laziness as of loye in all those hours 
which he passed amongst his mistresses, who served only to fill up 
his seraglio, while a bewitching kind of pleasure, called sauntering, 
was the sultana queen het delighted in. 

^ ^ The thing called sauntering is a stronger temptation to prinees 
than it is lo others.— The being galled with importunities, pursued 
from one room to another with asking faces ; the dismal sound of 
unreasonable complainte and ill-grounded pretences; the defcotnlty 
of ft-aud. ill-disguised :— all these would make any man run away 
fhxHn them , and I used to think it was the motive for making him 
walk so fast. '' 


The title oL illustrious was never given, till the reign of Con^n- 
tine, but to those whose reputation was splendid in arms or in letters. 
Adulation had not yet adopted this noble word intQ her vocabulary. 
Suetonius composed a book to record those who had possessed Uus 
title ^ and, as it was then bestowed, a moderate volume was sufficieiit 
to contain their names. 

In the time of Constantino, the title of illustrious was given more 
particulariy to those princes who had distinguished themselves in 
war^ but it was not continued to their descendante. At lengthy it 
became very common ^ and every son of a prince was illustrious. II 
is now a convenient epithet for the poet. 

In the rage for titles the ancient lawyers in Italy were not 
satisfied by calling kings illustres^ they went a step higher, and 
would have emperors to be super-iUustres, a barbarous coinage oT 
Iheir own. 

In Spain, they published a book of titles for their kings, as wrell 
as for the Portuguese*, but Selden tells us, ttiat '*' their Cortesias 
and giving of tiUes grew at length, thi'Qugh the affectation of heaping 
great attributes on their princes, to such an insufferable forme> tliac 

OF !«£ TITL^ OF ILLUSTRMHifi « ete. 147 

iMiedie i«B protMed agdiMl it '' Tlite ran^ 
bynifljpIII^ which ofdfldned that ail fheCortesiaSy as they tenned 
•OieseslFange phrases, they had so servilely and ridiculoiody ioyeBl- 
ed, shouU Iie*reduoed to a simple sabtfcription, *^ To the king our 
.kjTd," lesTiog oat those ftmtastical attributes of which eyery secretary 
had Tied with his predecessors in increasiDg the nuoiber. 

It wooM W three or (bur of these pages to 4raiiscrihe tlie titles 
and attributes of the Grand Signor, which he assumes in a letter to 
Henry lY. Seideo, in his Titles of Hobow, first part, p. 140, has 
preserved them. This ^^ emperor of victorious emperors/' as he 
styles himsdf, at length condescended to agree with the emperor of 
Germany, in 1606, that in all their letters and instruments they 
should be only styledyotAer and son : the emperor calling the sultan 
bis SOB^ and the sultan the emperor, in regard of his years, his 

Formerly, says Houssaie, the title of highness was only given 
to khigs; but now it has become so conunon that dl the great 
booses asBiiiiie it. AU the great, says a modem, are desirous of 
being conftmnded with princes , and are ready to seize on the pri- 
Tiieges of royal dignity. We have ieJready come to highness. The 
pride of our descendants, 1 suspect , win usurp that of majesty. 

Ferdinand, king of Aragon , and his queen Isabella of Castile , 
were only treated with the title of highness. Charles was the first 
who took thai of majesty: not in his quality of king of Spain , but 
as emperor. St. Foix informs us , that kings were usuaDy addressed 
by the tittes of most illustrious ^ or your serenity y or your grace ,• 
tot that the custom of giving them that of majesty was only esta- 
Hished by Louis XI. , a prince the least majestic in all his actions , 
his manners , and his exterior — a severe monarch , but no ordinary 
roan , the Tiberius of France. The manners of this monarch were 
most sordid -, in public audiences he dressed like the meanest of the 
people , and affected to sit on an old broken chair, with a filthy dog 
OB his knees. In a account found of his household, this majestic 
prince has a charge made him for two new sleeves sewed on one of 
Ms old doublets. 

Formeriy kings were apostrophised by the title of your grace. 
Henry YIII. was the first , says Houssaie , who assumed the title of 
highness; and at length majesty. It was Francis I. who saluted 
him with this last title , in their interview in the year 1520, though 
be called hiaiself only the first gentleman in his kingdom ! 

So distinct were once the titles of highness ^ and excellence y that 
when Doo Juan , the brother of Philip II. , was permitted to take 
op the latter title , and the city of Granada saluted him by the tifie 

t48 OF THE TITLES OF ll.LUBTEH>l]S, etc. 

f^ki^mess, Uocoaikmedsadi serfoos Jadoosir atooort fiM had 
he peisisted in it, he would h«ve been oondemned for treaeon. 

The usual titte of cardinalsyHboai 1600, was signoria Uhtstris^^ 
tfima,*lheDuke ofLenna, the fipaoish minister and cardinal, in fa» 
old age , assttoied the iiHe of exoellencia reuerendissima. The 
church of Rome was in its glory, and to be called reuerend was 
then accounted a higher honour than to he styled iUustrious. But 
hy use illustrious grew familiar, and reverends vulgar, and at last 
the cardinals were distinguished by the ttie of eminent. 

After all these historieal notiees<r8specting these titles, the reailer 
wiU smile when he is acquainted with Ihe veason of an honest curate 
of Montferrat , who retoed to bestow tte tUle of highness on the 
duke of Mantua, because he found ki his Imviary these words, Tu 
solus Bominus, tu solus Altissimus ,- from all which he conrtuded, 
that none but the Lord was to be honoured with the title of 
highness! The ^^ Titles of Honour'' of Selden is a very curious 
volume , and , as the learned Usher told Evelyn , the moat valuable 
work of this great schdar. The best edition is a folio of abotft 
1000 pages. SeMen vindicates tha fight of a king of Eo^^and to Ui^ 
title of emperor. * 

<* And nerer yet iraj title did not more ; 
ijgid never die a mind, Amt ma, did not lore.** 


In countries where despotism exists in all its force, and is gratified 
in all its caprices, either tl^e intoxication of power has occastoned 
sovereigns to assume the most solemn and the most fantastic titles ; 
or the royal duties and functions were considered of so high and 
extensive a nature , that the pe(^le expressed their notion of the 
pure monarchical tate by the most energetic descriptions of oriental 

The chiefk of the Natchez are regarded by their people as the 
children of the sun , and they bear (he name oj their father. 

The titles which some chiefe assume are not always honourable 
in themselves*, it is sufficient if the pjsople respect them. The king 
ofQuiterva calls himself the great lion; and for this reason lions 
are there so much respected , that they are not allowed to kill them , 
but at certain royal huntings. 

The king of Monomotapa is surrounded by musicians and poets, 
who adulate him by such refined flatteries as lord of the sun and 
moon ; great magician ; and great thief! 

The Asiatics have bestowed what to us appear as ridiculous titles 
of honour on their princes. The king of Arraaan assumes the 

xrrLK or soverhoms. 149 

followngiMics :^^ Emperor «riHrracan,po08^^ ele^ 

pfamt, and the twoearnriags, aodmirirtiieof ttrispOflsosBionfeg^ 
(iDiale heir of P^a and Brama-, lord of Itie twdve i^rotiaees of 
Beo^ , and the twelve kiDga wto place their heads^ tmder hii 

His m^es^ of Aira is eaiiedGod: wfafMr he writes to a (braigii 
sovereign he caBs tdoaself the kfaig of kings, whom aB others 
sbooM obey, as he is the cause of therpfesenratioii of M animals; 
tbe regulator of the seasoos, the absohile raaslfir of the eUiand floiw 
of the sea, brotiier to the sim, and king ef the lonr and twtt^f 
uminreUas ! These umfefeilas are always carried beftNie him as a 
mark of his dignity. 

The titles of the kings of Aohem are singiihir, though t(rfur 
mlBous. '!^e most striktag ones are sor^dgn of the universe, whose 
ixxty is l«mi«ous as tke sun^ whom God created to he as accorn^ 
tiiisbed as the moon at her plenitude ; whose eye glitters like the 
northern-star; a king: as spiiitaal as ar baH iS' round ; who when he 
risei shades ail his people; fipom under whose feel a sweet odour 
is wafled^elc. etc. 

Hie Kandiatt so^efeign is called I>dvra (God). In a deed of gfft 
be proclaims bis^ extraordin^T altlrihutes^ '^ The protector of reli- 
gioA, whose Anne is inflnile, and of surpassing esceHenee , exceeii- 
ing the moon, Che uaexpataded jessamine bud^, the stbrs, etc.; 
whose feet are as fragrant to the noses of other kings as lowers to 
tees; ear most noMe patron and god by custom^ '' etc. 

After a l&og enumeration of the countries possessed by the king 
of Persia, the^ give him some peetical distinotaQns : tke branch of 
kmwur; the mirror of^vitkm^ wad «Ad rose t^deligh. 

• i* ' 


TmsRE is n curious disseHsillliOn in the ^^ IMKmoires de TAcad^anis 
des InscftptioAs et Belle»jjett|^, '' by the Abb^ Mongaolt, ^^ on 
tfaediviBe honours which were paid to the governors of preivittces 
daring the Romaft republic ; '' hi their lifetime these originally 
began in gratitude, and at length degenerated into flattery. These 
lacts curiously show how for th& human mind can advance , when 
led on by ci^toms that operate, invisibly en it , and idind us in our 
absur^ties. One of these ceremonies was exc^itely ridiculous. 
When they voted a statue to a prooonsul , they placed it among the 
statues of the gods in the festival called Lectistemiuniy from the 
ridiculous circumstances of this solemn festival. On that day the 
gods were invited to a repast , which was however spread in various 
<|usffters of the city, to satiate mouths more mortal. The gods were 


however taken down from their pedestals , laid on beds ornamenteci^ 
in their temples; pillows were placed under their marble heads i 
and while ^y reposed in this easy posture they were served with 
a floagniflceiit repast. When GMar had conquered Rome , the servile 
senate put him to dine with the gods ! Fatigued by and ashamed of 
these honours , he desired the senate to erase from his statue in the 
eapitol the title they had given him oT a demirgod! 

The first Koman emperors did not want flatterers, and the adu- 
lations lavished on Vbxm were extravagant. But perhaps few know 
that they were less offensive than the flatterers of the third century 
under the Pagah , and of the fourth under the Christian emperors. 
Those who are acquainted with the character of the ageof Aug;us- 
tulus have only to look at the one , and the oth^ code, to find an 
infinite number of passages which had not been tolerable even im 
that age. Voir instance , here is a law of Arcadius and Ronorius , 
published in 404 : — 

'' Let the officers of the palace be warned to abstain flrom f^ 
quenting tumultuous meetings \ and that those who , instigated by a 
sacrilegious temerity, dare to oppose the authority of our diinnily, 
siiall bedet)rived of thefr employments, and their estates confiscated.^ 
The letters they write are holy. When the soq; speak of their fo- 
ttiers , it is ^^ Their fether of ddnfine memory \ " or ^^ Their diyine 
fattier. '' They call their own laws oracles, )md celestial orades. So 
also their sul^ecls address them by the titles of '^ JTour Perpetuity^ 
your Eternity. '' And it appears by a law of Theodore the Great, 
that the emperors at length added this to their titles. It begins, ^^ If 
any magistrate , aRer having concluded a public work , put his 
name rather than that of Our Perpetuity, let him be judged guUty 
of highrlreason. '' All this remhotis one of ^^ the celestial empire '* 
of the Chinese. 

Whenever the Great Mogul made an observation , Bemier tells 
us that some of the first Omrahs lUted up their hands, crying , 
** Wonder ! wonder ! wonder ! " And a proverb current in his do« 
minion was ,, ^^ If the king saith at noonday it is night , you are to 
say, Behold the moon and the stars ! '' Such adulation , however, 
could not alter the general condition and fortune of this unhappy 
being , who f)ecame a sovereign without knowing what it is to be 
one. He was brought out of the seraglio to be placed on the throne^ 
and it was he rather than the spectators, who might have truly 
used the interjection of astonishment ! 


Fortune never appears in a more extravagant humour than 
when she reduces monarchs to become mehdicants. Half a century 


ago il was not imagined tbatour own ttmessboiddbafe to reeofdmany 
such instances. Alter having contemplated kings raised into divini- 
ties, we see them now depressed as begg^ars. Our own times , in 
two opposite senses , may emfdiatically be distinguished as the agh 
of kings. 

In Candide, (MT the Optimist, there is an admirable stroke ofYol^ 
taire's. Eight trayeUers meet in an Qi)scure inn, and some of them 
with not suflScient money to pay for a scurvy dinner. In the course 
of conversation , they are discovered to be eight monarchs in Eu- 
rope, who had been deprived of their crowi^I 

What added to this exqpiisite satire was , that there w^fe eight 
living monarchs at that moment wanderers on the earth ;— ^ circum- 
stance which has since occurred ! 

Adelaide, the widow of Lothario Idng of Italy, one of the most 
beautiful women in her age, was i)esieged in Pavia by Berenger, 
who resolved to constrain her to marry his son after Pavia was taken ; 
she escaped from her prison with her almoner. The archbishop of 
R^gio had offered her an asylum : to reach it , she and her aUnoner 
travelled on foot through the country by night , concealing herself 
In the day time among the corn, while the almoner begged for 
alms and food through the villages. 

The emperor Henry lY, after having been deposed and imprin 
soned by his son , Henry V . , escaped from prison \ poor, vagrant , 
and without aid , he entreated the bishoj) of Spires to grant him a lay 
pnebedd in his church. ^^ I have studied,'' said he, ''and have leam^ 
ed to sing, and may therefore be of some service to you.'' The re* 
quest was denied, and he died yniserably and obscurely at Laege, 
after having drawn the attention of Europe to his victories and his 

Mary of Medicis , the widow of Henry the Great , mother of 
Louis XIII., mother-in-law of three sovereigns, and regent of 
France, frequently wanted the necessaries of life, and died at Co- 
logne in the utmost misery. The \ntrigues of Richelieu compelled 
her to exile herself, and live an unhappy fugitive. Her petition 
exists, with this supplicatory opening : ''Supplie Marie, Reine de 
France et de Navarre , disant , que depuis le 23 Fevrier, elle auroit 
6t6 arrftl6e prisonni^re au chateau de Compi6gne , sans ^tre ni ac- 
cuse, ni soupQonn^,'^ etc. Lilly, the astrologer, in his Life and 
Death of King Charles the First, presents us with a melancholy pic- 
ture of this unfortunate monarch. He has also described the person 
of the oM queen mother of France. 

" In the month of August , 1641 , 1 beheld the old queen-mother 
of France departing from London, in company of Thomas Earl of 
Arundel. A sad spectacle of mortality it was , and produced tears 


ftromniiAe eyes and many olhor bdboldefs, to see <^ aged, lean, 
decrepit y poor queen, ready for her grave, neoessitated to depart 
bence , having no place «f residence^in this world left her, i>ai where 
the courtesy df her hard fortune assigned it. She had 6een fbe only 
stately and magnificent woman of Europe : wife to the greatest king 
that ever lived in France ^ mother onto one long and unto two 

In the year 1595, died at Paris, Antonio Idng of Portugal. His 
body is interred at ttte Cordeliers, aiid his heart deposited at the 
Ave-Maria. Nothing on earth could compel this prince to renounce 
his crown. He passed over to England, and^Elizabeth assisted him 
vnlfa troops ; but at length he died in France in great poverty. This 
dethroned monarch was happy in one thing, which is indeed rare : 
in all his miseries he had a servant , who proved a tender and f^tht^I 
friend , and who only desired to participate m his misfortunes , and 
to soften his miseries ; and for the recompense of hfs senices he only 
wished to be buried at the feet of his dear master. This hero in 
loyalty, to whom the ancient Romans would have raised altars , was 
Don Diego Botbei , one of the greatest lords of the court of Portu- 
gal , and who drew bis origin fh>m the kings of Bohemia. 

Hume supplies an anecdote of singular royal distress. The queen 
of England, with her sonChaiies, had ^^a moderate pension assign- 
ed her; but it was so ill paid, and her credit fan so low , that one 
morning when the Cardinal de Retz waited on her, she informed 
him Oiat her daughter, the princess Henrietta, was obliged to lie 
abed for want of a fire to warm her. To such a condition was redu- 
ced, in themidst of Paris, a queen of England , and daughter of 
Henri IV. of France! " We find another proof of her extreme po- 
verty. Salmasius , after publishing his celebrated political book , in 
favour of Charles 11 , the Defensio Regia , was much blamed by 
a friend for not having sent a copy to the widowed queen of Charles , 
who, he writes, though poor, would yet have paid the bearer. 
• The daughter of James the First , who married the Elector Pala- 
tine, in her attempts to get her husband crowned, was redxtced to 
the utmost distress , and wandered frequently in disguise. 

A strange anecdote is related of Charles VII. of France. Our 
Henri Y. had shrunk his kingdom into the town of BoUrges. It is 
said that having told a shoemaker, after he had just tried a pair of 
his boots , that he had no money to pay for them, Crispin had such 
callous feelings that he refused his ms^esty the boots. ^' It is for this 
reason,'' says Comines , '^ I praise (hose jHinces who are on good 
terms with the lowest of their people; for they know not at what 
hour they may want them." 


Msf vbMrelB itf this day lucre eiqw^^ 
truA of Oie refiectioD of Gomines. 

WeiDaT <^ hdte^ ttMl in all eoaqaenA coontiiM the deicaid- 
arii af F»f al teiiliea ba^ been fraiid among Ihe drega of the pen 
pihce. An IriBh prince haa been disoovered in tive person of a 
M M nMo peasanl ; and in Meiieo, ito finlliM UHorian Qavisero 
oofices, that he has known a loetanith who wa9 a descendant of 
itoURieDt kings , andataikr, the lepresentatiTeofoneof iton^ 


BOBAROUS as the feudal customs. were, they were the first at- 
tempt at organiaiBg European society. The northern nations , in 
their irraptions and settlements in Europe , were barbarians inde- 
pendent of eacb other, till a sense of pubDc safety induced these 
bordes to c(Mifederate. But the private individual resped no benefit 
from the public union ^ on the contrary, he seems to have lost his 
wild iiberty in the subjugation ^ he in a short time was compelled 
to suffer from his chieftain^ and the curiosity of the phSosopher i& 
euited by contemplating in the feudal customs a iarbaroua people 
^^Bfryiflg iaio their first social institutions their original fieroCity. 
The institution of forming cities into communities at length gra^ 
dually (fiounished this military and aristocratic tyranny ; and the 
freedom of aties , originating in the pursuits of commerce , shook 
off (be yoke of insolent lordships. A fomous ecclesiasticidt writer of 
thalday, who had imbibed the feudal prejudices , calls these com- 
OMinities, which were distinguished by the name of libertaies 
(heaee probably our municipal term the liberties)^ as '^execraUe 
ioTentions, by which, contrary to law and justice , slaves withdrew 
themselves irom that obedience which they owed to their masters.'' 
Such was the expiring voice of aristocratic tyranny! This subject 
hasl)eea ingeniously discussed by Robertson in his preliminary 
Yohune to Charles Y. \ but the following facts constitute the picture^ 
wUch the historian leayes to be gleaned by the minuter inquirer. 

The feudal government introduced a species of servitude which 
tiO that time was unknown, and which was called the servitude of 
the land. The bondmen or serfs , and the villains or country ser- 
vants, did not reside in the house of the lord : but they entirely de- 
pended on his caprice \ and he sold them , as he did the anim^ds , 
with the fleld where they lived , and which they cultivated. 

U is difficult to conceive v^th what insolence the petty lords of 
those tim^ tyrannised over their villains : they not only oppressed 
their slaves with unremitted labour, instigated by a vile cupidity \ 

ij^ FKUDAi:' customs: 

bat their ^him and caprice led them to inUet miseries witlioul 
even any motiYe of interest. 

In Scotland they had a shamefhl Institution of maiden-righls ; and 
Milcobn the Third only abdished it , by ordering that they might 
be redeemed by a quit-rent. The truth of this circumstance Bal- 
rymple ha^ attempted, with excusable patriotism, to render dovbt- 
fhl. There seems , however, tote no doubt of the existence of this 
custom *, since it also spread through Germany, and various parts 
of Europe ; and the French barons extended their domestic tynyiny 
to three nights of involuntary prostitution. Montesquieu isinflnitely 
French , when he could turn this shameftil species o^ tyranny into a 
bon mot^ for he boldly observes on this, ' * Cetoit bien ces trois nuits- 
Ih qu'ilfdlloit choisir: car, pour les autres, on n*auroit pas 
donne beaucoup d^argenV The legislator in the wit forgot the 
feelings of his heart. 

Others, to preserve this privilege when they could not epjoy it in 
all its extent > thrust their leg booted into the bed of the new mar- 
ried-couple. This was called the droH de cuisse. When the bride 
was in bed , the esquire or lord performed this ceremony, and stood 
there his thigh in the bed, with a lance in his hand : in this 
ridiculous attitude he remained till he was tired ; and the bride- 
groom was not suffered to enter the chamber, till his lordship had 
retired. Such indecent privileges must have originated in (he worst 
of intentions ; and when afterwards they advanced a step in more 
humane manners , the ceremonial was preserved !h)m avaricious 
motives. Others have compelled their subjects to pass the first night 
at the top of a tree, and there to consummate their marriage ; to p ss 
the bridal hours in a river*, or to be bound naked to a cart, and to 
trace some furrows as they were dragged ; or to leap with their feet 
tied over the horns of stags. 

Sometimes their caprice commanded the bridegroom to appear in 
drawers at their castle , and plunge into a ditch of mud*, and some- 
times they were compelled to beat the waters of the ponds to hinder 
the frogs from disturbing the lord ! 

Wardship, or the privilege of guardianship enjoyed by some lord, 
was one of the barbarous inventions of the feudal ages *, the guardian 
had both the care of the person , and for his own use the revenue of 
the estates. This feudal custom was so far abused in England , that 
the king sold these lordships to strangers ; and when the guardian 
had fixed on a marriage for the infant if the youth or maiden did 
not agree to this , they forfeited the value of the marriage \ that is, 
the sum the guardian would have obtained by the other party had 
it taken place. This cruel custom was a source of domestic unbap- 


pio» pitflieiilarlf in k>Te-affair», and has served as the ground- 
wQfl of many a pathetic play by our elder dnkmatisfs. 

Itoe ms a time when the German lords reckoned amongst 
tlKir prhrfleges that of robbing on the highways of their terri- 
lorj; which ended in raising up the famous Hanseatic Union to 
prolttt thdr cmnmerce against rapine and avaricious exactions of 

Geoffrey , lord of Coventry, compdled his wifo to ride naked on 
a white pad through the streets of the town ; that by this mode he 
might restore to the inhabitants those privileges of which his wan- 
kmins had depriTed them. This anecdote some have suspected to 
iK fictitious from its extreme barbarity ^ but the character of the 
owk8eHiges wiU admit of any kind of wanton barbarism. 

When the abbot of Figeac makes his entry into that town , the 
lord of Montt)run , dressed in a hariequin's coat, and one of his legs 
naked, is compelled by an ancient custom to conduct hhn to the 
door of his abbey, leading his horse by the bridle. 

The feudal barons frequently combined to share among them- 
selres those children of their villains who appeared to be the most 
healthy and serviceable ; or who were remarkable for their talents ^ 
and not nnfrequently sold them in their markets. 

The feudal servitude is not , even in the present enlightened 
Umes, abolished in Poland, in Germany, and in Russia. In those 
conDtritt the bondmen are still entirely dependent on the caprice of 
Ibeir masters. The peasants of Hungary or Bohemia frequently re- 
volt, and attempt to shake off the pressure of feudal tyranny. 

An anecdote of comparatively recent date displays their unfeeling 
caprice. A lord or prince of the northern countries passing through 
one of his villages , observed a small assembly of peasants and their 
lamilies amusing themselves with dancing. He commands his do- 
mestics to part the men from the women , and confine them in the 
houses. He orders the coats of the women , to be drawn tip above 
their heads , and tied with their garters. The men were then libe- 
rated, and those who did not recognise their wives in that stale 
received a severe castigation. 

Absolute dominion hardens the human heari *, and nobles accus- 
tomed to command their bondmen will treat their domestics as slaves, 
as cajnicious or inhuman West Indians treated their domestic 
shives. Those of Siberia punish theirs by a free use of the cudgel or 
rod. The Abbe Chappe saw two Russian slaves undress a chamber- 
inaid, who had by 3ome trifling negligence given offence to her 
mistress-, after having uncovered as far as her waist, one placed 
her head betwixt his knees 5 the other held her by the feet : while 

fx>th , armed with two ^larp rods, Tiotently laBhed her h&(Sk ttt it 
pleased the domestio tyrant to decree it was enough f 

Aflor a i^erusal of these anecdotes of feudal tynmny, we nay ex- 
claim with Goldsmith*— 

♦* I flj from flTTT TTBAMTt~tO tlie THROHE." 

Mr. Hallam's recent work of the ^^ State of Europe durfng the 
MidAe-Ages '* renders tikis short article superlnoos in a pMleso- 
ftiodi view. 


Gaming a]n)ear8 to be a universal passion. Some have altampted 
lo deny its universsdiiy v they have imagined that it is chiefly pre- 
valent in cold climates , where such a pas^on becomes moat capable 
of agitating and gratifying the torpid miitds of their inhabitants. 

The fatal propensity of gaming is to be discovered, as well 
amongst the Inhabitants of the frigid and torrid zones , as amongst 
those of the milder chmates. The savage and the civilised , the illi- 
terate and the learned, are alike captivated by the hope of accumu- 
lating wealth without the labours of industry. 

Barbeyrac has written an elaborate treatise on gaming , and we 
have two quarto volumes by C. Moore on suicide , gaming , and 
duelling, which may be put on the shelf by the side of Barbeyrac. 
All these works are exceHent sermons *, but a sermon to a gambler, 
a duellist , or a suicide I A dice-box , a sword and pistol , are the 
only things that seem to have any power over these unhappy men , 
for ever lost in a labyrinth of their own construction. 

I am much pleased with the following thought. ^^ The ancients ,'' 
says the author of Amusemens serieux et comujues, '^ assembled 
to see their gladiators kill one another ^ they classed this among 
(heir games! What barbarity ! But are we less barbarous , we who 
call a game an assembly who meet at the faro table where the ac- 
tors themselves confess ttiey only meet to destroy one another? " In 
both these cases the philosopher may perhaps discover their origin 
in the listless state of ennui requiring an immediate impulse of the 
passions ; and very inconsiderate as to the fatal means which procure 
the desired agitation. 

The most ancient treatise by a modern on this subject , is said to 
be by a French physician , one Eckeloo , who published in 1569, 
De yiled, stye de curandd Ludendi in Pecuniam cupiditate , 
that is , "of games of chance , or a cure for gaming." The treatise 
ilself is only worth noticing from the circumstance of the author 
being himself one of the most inveterate gamblers ^ he wrote this 

OAMIVG. 167 

TOfclooonviDcehinsetforihfefollr. ftilHispiteofdl ktowileBui 
V0V8, the prayers of his friends, md bis own bodk perpelndly 
quoidd betore his face , he w«9 a great gamester to his last hour 1 
Tbe sum circumstaDce happened to Sir Xohn Denham , who also 
published a tract agsonst gaming , and to the last remained a game* 
ster. They had not the good sense of old Mcmtaigne , i^io gires the 
reasoB why he gave over gaming. ^^ I used to like formerly games at 
cfasDce with cards and (fiee*, but of that folly I have long been cored 
mereij because I found that whateyer good countenance I put on 
when I lost, I did not feel my vexation the less." Goldsmith Ml a 
Yiclim to this madness. To play any game weH requbres serious 
study, time, and experience. If a literary num plays deeply, be wfll 
be doped even by shallow fellows , or by professed gionblers. 

Dice, and thai little pugnaeioin animal the cock^ are the chief 
instrumeDts employed by the numerous nations of the East , to agi^ 
late their miods ap4 ruin their fortunes ; to which the Chinese, who 
are desper^.gamesters , add the use of cards. When all other pro^ 
peny is played away , the Asiatic gambler scruples not to stake his 
wjfe or his child, on the cast of a die , or courage and strength of 
a iitti<ial biid. If stiU unsuccess&il , the last venture he stakes is 

In the island of Ceylon, cock-fighting is ctoried to a great height. 
The Samatrans aie addicted to the use of dice. A strong si^rit of 
play characterises a Malayan. After having resigned every thing to 
ifae good fortune of the vmmer, he is reduced to a horrid state of 
desperation ; he then loosens a certain lock of hair, which indicates 
war and destruction to dl whom the raving gamester meets. He 
iatcnicaies himself v^lh opium -, and working himself into a fit of 
frenzy, he bites or kills every one who comes in his way. But as 
soon IS thb k)ck is seen flovfing , it is lawful to fire at Uie person 
and to destroy him as Dast as possible. This custom ia what is eaUed 

' Te nm a muck.'' Thus Dryden writes— 

** FronUeM md tattre-prool, he tcovrt the ttreett , 
And nau an Indian muck at all he meets.** 

Thus also Pope— 

** Satire'a my weapon , bnt TiA too discreet 
To fw» a muck, and tiU at all I meet.** 

fchnson could not discover the derivation of the word muck. To 
'' nin a muck" is an old phrase for attacking madly and indiscrimi- 
itttely ^ and has since been ascertained to be a Malay word. 

To discharge their gambting debts , the Siamese sell their pos- 
^ions , their families , and at length themselves- The Chinese play 


night Mid day ^mihef havelostall they are worth; md then thef 
usually go and hang themselves. Such is the propensity of the J^- 
nese for high play, that they were compelled to make a law , that , 
" Whoever ventures his money at play shall be put to death/* In 
the newly-discovered islands of the Pacific Ocean , they venture even 
their hatchets , which they hold as invaluable acquisitions , on nin* 
ning-matches.— ^^ We saw a man /' says Cook, " beating his breast 
and tearing his hair in the violence of rage , for having lost three 
hatchets at one of these races , and which he had purchased with 
nearly half his property." 

The ancient nations were not less addicted to gaming ; Persians, 
Grecians, and Romans; the Goths, and Germans. To notice^the 
modem ones were a melancholy task : there is hardly a fiunily in 
Europe which cannot record , firom ttieir own domestic annals , the 
dreadful prevalence of this passion. 

Gamester and c/ieater were synonymous terms in the time of 
Shakespeare and Jonson : they have hardly lost much of their douMe 
signification in the present day. 

The following is a curious picture of a gambling-house , (h>m a 
contemporary account, and appears to be an estaMishment more 
systematic even than the ^^ Hells" of the present day. 

^' A list of the officers established in the most notorious -gaming- 
houses," from the Daily Journal, Jan. 9th, 1731. 

1st. A GoMBnssioNER , always a proprietor, who looks in of a 
night ; and the week's account is audited by him and two other 

2nd. A DiREGTOR, who superintends the room. 

3rd. An Operator, who deals the cards at a cheating game, 
called Faro. 

4th. Two Crowpees , who watch the cards , and gather the mo- 
ney for the ba»k. 

5th. Two Puffs , who have money given them to decoy others 
to play. 

6th. A Clerk , who is a check upon the Puffs , to see that they 
sink none of the money given them to play with. 

7th. A Squib is a puff of lower rank , who serves at half-i)ay sa- 
lary while he is learning to deal. 

8th. A Flasher , to swear how often the bank has been stript. 

9th. A DuNNER, who goes about to recover money lost at play. 

10th. A Waiter, to fiU out wine, snuff candles , and attend the 

nth. An Attorney, a Newgate-solicitor. 

12tti. A Captain, who is to fight any gentleman who is peefisli 
for losing his money. 

CAMING. t&9 

13fe. Ab UuntR, vba Hghls genOemen up and down stain , 

aid gi^es the "ward lo the porter. 
I4fh, A PoRTBR , who is generaHy a soldier of the Foot Guards. 

Ibttk. An Ordeily Mai<(, who walks up and down the outside of 
Ihedoor, to give notice to the porter, and alarm the house at the 
apimttch of the constable. 

16th. A RuNifER^ who is to get intdUgence of ttie Justices' 

17th. Link-boys , Coachmen^ Ghairhbn , or others who bring 
ioleOigence of the Justices' meetings, or of the constables being out, 
al lialf4i-guinea reward. 

18th. Common-Baa , Affidatit-sieii , Ruffians , Bravobs , 
Assassins, cum mukis aliis. 

The ^^ Memoirs of the most famous Gamesters from the Reign of 
Gbarles II. to Queen Anne, by T. Lucas , Esq. 1714,'' appears to 
be a bookseller's Job ; but probably a few traditional stories are pre- 


The Arabic chronicle of Jerusalem is only valuable from the time 
of MBhomet. For such is the stupid superstition of the Arabs , thai 
ttiey pride themseWes on being ignorant of whatever has passed be- 
fore (be mission of their Prophet. It contains the most curious infer* 
oution concerning the crusades : Longerue translated sevend por«- 
tioiis of this chronicle, which appears to be written with impartiality, 
n renders Justice to the chrislian heroes , and particularly dwells on 
Qie gallant actions of the Count de St. GiUes. 

Oar historians chiefly write concerning Go^ey de Bouillon; 
poly the learned know that the Count de St. GUles acted there so 
BBportant a character. The stories of the Saracens are just the r^ 
Yene; they spealc little concerting Godfrey, and eminently distin^ 
iobh Samt Gilles. 

TasBo has given into the more vulgar accounts , by making the 
fonner so eminent, at the cost of the other heroes, in his Jerusston 
Mvered. ThusYfrgil transformed by his magical power the chaste 
Mo into a distracted lover ; and Homer the meretrecious Penelope 
into a moaning matron. It is not requisite for poets to be histo- 
'te) but historians should not be so frequently poets. The same 
c^rge , I have been told , must be made to the Grecian historians. 
The Persians are viewed to great disadvantage in Grecian history. It 
voold ibrm a curious inquiry, and the result might be unexpected 
to some , were the Oriental student to comment on the Grecian his- 
^^^fums. The Grecians were not the demi-gods they paint themselves 
^ have been, nor those they attacked the conlemptiUe multitudes 


tbey deitfibe. These bosBtod Tictoiies micht iie dimioMied. The 
same observation attaches to Gsesar's ^ccoHot of his firittsb expedir 
(ion. He never records the defeats he frequently experienced. The 
national prejudices of (he Roman historians have undoubtedly oc- 
casioned us to have a very erroneous cone^tion of the Carthagi- 
nians , vtrhose discoveries in navigation and commercial enterprises 
were the most considerable among the ancients. We mnst indeed 
think highly of that people , v^hose works on agriculture^ wUoh 
they had raised intoa science, the senate of Rome ordered to be 
translated into Latin* They must iodeed have been a wiseand*grave 
people. — ^Yet they are stigmatised by the Romans for-fiiofion, cnielty, 
and cowardice; and their bad Hudi has come ioma lo us in a pro- 
verb : but Livy was a Roman ! and there is^uidi a thing as a patriotic 

(7cL(Uy^ Ov.^^o q{i\ METEMPSYCHOSIS. 

If we except the belief of a future remuneration beyond this life 
for suffering virtue , and retribution for successfiil crimes , there is 
no system so simple , and so little repugnant to our understanding , 
as that of the metonpsychosis. The pains and the pleasures of this 
life are by this system considered as the recompense or the pumsh*- 
ment of our actions in an anterior state : so that , says St. Foix y we 
cease to wonder that, among men and animals, some ei4oy an easy 
and agreeable life, while others seem born only to suffer all kinds oC 
miseries. Preposterous as this system may appear, it has not wanted 
for advocates in the present age, which indeed lias revived e^ery 
kind of fenciful theories. Afercier, in L'an deux mU quaere cen$ 
{fuarante , seriously maintains the present one. 

If we seek for the origin of the opinion of the metenq)sychosis, or 
ttie transBdgration of souls into other bodies , we n^ust plunge into 
the remotest antiquity; and even then we shall And it impossible to 
fix the epoch of its first author. The notion was long extant in Greecfi 
before the time of Pythagoras. Herodoto assures us that the Egjp^ 
tian priests taught it; but he does not inform us of the time it be* 
gan to spread. It probably followed the opinion of the immortiyUty 
of ^ souL As soon as the first phiJk)sophers had established tlus 
dogma , they thought they could not maintain this immortality with* 
out a transmigration of souls. Theq[)inion of the metempsychofiis 
spread in almost every region of the «arth; and it continues, even to 
the present titeae , in aU its force amongst those nations who have not 
yet embraced Christianity. The people of Arracan, Peru, Siam, Cam- 
boya, Tonquin , Gochin-China, Japan , Java, and Ceylon, still en- 
tertain thi^ fancy, which also forms the chief article of the Qunese 
itiigioQ. The Dnuds believed in transm^;ratio^ the bardic triads 

I ' ' ^ '' ■ r ^ 


of the Wddi are foil or this beHef; and a Welsh antiquary insists 
(hat bj an emigration which fbnnerly took place , it was conveyed 
to fbe J^amins of India from Wales ! The Welsh bards tell us that 
the sools of men transmigrate into the bodies of those animals whose 
hMIs and characters they most resemble , till after a circuit of such 
penitential miseries , (hey are purified for the celestial presence ; 
for man may be converted into a pig or a wolf, tiD at length he 
assumes the inoffensiyeness of the dove. 

My learned friend Sharon Turner has explained , in his '^ Tindi- 
catloii 5f fhe ancient British Poems , " p. ^1 , the Welsh system of 
the metempsychosis. Thehr bards mention three circles of existence. 
The circle of the all-enclosing circle holds nothing alive or dead, but 
God. The second circle*, that of felicity, is that which men are to 
pervade after they have passed through their terrestrial changes. 
The circle of evil is that in which human nature passes through those 
varying stages of existence which it must undergo before it is quali* 
fled to inhabit the circle of felicity. 

The progression of man through the circle of evil is marked by 
Hffee infelicities : Necessity, oblivion , and deaths. The deaths which 
foQow oar changes are so many escapes from their power. Man is a 
free agent , and has the liberty of ch^ing ; his sufferings and chan- 
ges cannot be fE>reseen. By his misconduct he may happen to fall re- 
trograde into the lowest state fh>m which he had emerged. If his con- 
duct hi any one state , instead of improving his being , had made it 
worse, he fell back into a worse condition to commence again his 
purifying revolutions.. Humanity was the limit of the degraded trans- 
migrations. All the changes above humanity produced felicity. Hu- 
manity is the scene of the contest ; and after man has traversed every 
slate of animated existence , and can remember all that he has passed 
throagh , that consummation follows which he attains in the circle 
of felicity. It is on this system of transmigration that Taliessin , the 
Welsh f>ard , who wrote in the sixth century, gives a recital of his 
pretended transmigrations. He tells how he had been a serpent , a 
wild ass , a buck, or a crane , etc. ^ and this kind of reminiscence 
of his former state , this recovery of memory, was a proof of the mor- 
tal's advances to the happier. For to forget what we have been was 
one of the curses of the circle of evil. Taliessin therefore , adds Mr. 
Turner, as proftisely boasts of his recovered reminiscence as any 
modem sectary can do of his state of grace and election. 

In afl these wikl reveries there seems to be a moral fable in the no- 
tion , that the clearer a man recollects what a brute he has been , it is 
a certain poof that he is in an improved state! 

According to the authentic ClavigerOj in his history of Mexico, we 
txid the Pythagorean transmigration carried on in the West , and not 



less rancif^Uy than in the Countries of the East. The pec^Dle of TIas- 
cala believe that the souls of persons of rank went after their death ta 
inhabit the bodies of beaut^ul and sweet singing birds, and those 
of the nobler quadrupeds; while the souls of inferior persons were 
supposed to pass into weazels, beetles , and such other meaner 

There is something not a little ludicrous in the description Plu* 
tarch gives at the close of his treatise on '^ the delay of heavenly 
justice/' Thespesius saw at length the souls of those who were con- 
demned to return to life , and whom they violently forced to take the 
forms of all kinds of animals. The labourers charged with this trans - 
formation forged with their instruments certain parts ; others, a new 
form ', and made some totally disappear ; that these souls might be 
rendered proper for another kind of life and other habits. Among 
these he perceived the soul of Nero , which had already suffered long 
torments, and which stuck to the body by nails red from the fire. 
The workmen seized on him to make a viper of, under which form 
he was now to live » after having devoured the breast that had car- 
ried him. — But in this Plutarch only copies the fine reveries of 


The etiquette , or rules to be observed in royal palaces , is ne- 
cessary for keeping order at court In Spain it was carried to such 
lengths as to make martyrs of their kings. Here is an instance , al 
which , in spite of the fatal consequences it produced , one cannot 
refrain from smiling. 

Philip the Third was gravely seated by the fire-side ; the fire- 
maker of the court had kindled so great a quantity of wood , that 
the monarch was nearly suffocated with heat , and his grandeur 
would not suffer him to rise from the chair ^ the domestics could not 
presume to enter the apartment , because it was against the eti- 
quette. At length the Marquis de Potat appeared, and the king or- 
dered him to damp the fire ; but he excused himself^ alleging that 
he was forbidden by the etiquette to perform such a function , for 
which the Duke d'Usseda ought to be called upon , as it was his bu- 
siness. The duke was gone out : ifydjire burnt fiercer; and the 
king endured it, rather than derogate from his dignity. But his 
blood was heated to such a degree, that an erysipelas of the hea4 
appeared the next day, which , succeeded by a violent fever, carried 
him off in 1621 , in the twenty-fourth year of his age. 

The palace was once on fire ; a soldier, who knew the king's sis- 
ter was in her apartment , and must inevitably have been consumed 
in a few moments by (he flames , at the risk of his life rushed in » 


and broaghf her highness safe out in his arms : bul the Spanish . 
edquette was here wofhlly broken into! The loyal soldier was 
hrou^l lo trial; and as it was impossible to deny that he had en- 
tered her apartment , the judges condemned him lo die ! The Spanish 
PrincesB however condescended , in consideration of the circum- 
stance, to pardon the soldier, and very benevolently saved his life. 
When Isabella , mother of Phihp II., was ready to be delivered of 
Mm , stie commanded that aD be lights should be extinguished -, that 
if Qie Ytolence of her pain should occasion her face to change co- 
loor, no one might perceive it. And when the midwife said , " Ma- 
dam , cry out, that will give you ease" she answered in good 
Spanish, " How dare you give me such advice ? I would rather 
die Unn cry oat.'' 

<« Spain glret us pride — which Spain to all the earth 
May largely give, nor fear herself a dearth ! *' 


Pliilip ^ Third was a weak bigot, who suffered himself to be 
goremed by his ministers. A patriot wished to open his eyes , but 
he could not pierce through the. crowds of his flatterers ; besides 
ttiat the Toice of patriotism heard in a corrupted court would have 
become a crime never pardoned. He found, however, an ingenious 
maDDer of conveying to him his censure. He caused to be laid on 
his table , one day, a letter sealed, which bore this address — ^^ To 
the King of ^min , Philip the Third , at present in the service of the 
Bnke of Lerma.'' 

In a similar manner, Bon Carlos , son to Philip the Second , made 
a book with empty pages , to contain the voyages of his father, which 
b(M« this title— '^ The great and admirable Voyages of the King 
Mr. Philip.'' All these voyages consisted in going to the Escurial from 
Madrid, and returning to Madrid from the £scurial. Jests of this 
kind at length cost him his life. 


The terrific honours which these ferocious nations paid to their 
deceased monarchs are recorded in history, by the interment of At- 
tila, king of the Buns, and Alaric, king of the Goths. 

Attila died in 453 , and was buried in the midst of a vast cham- 
paign in a coffin which was inclosed in one of gold, another of silver, 
and a third of iron. With the body were interred all the spoils of the 
«iemy, harnesses embroidered with gold and studded with Jewels , 
rich silks , and whatever they had taken most precious in the pa- 
laces of the kings they had pillaged ^ and that the place of his inter- 


inent might for ever remain concealed , the Huns depriyed of life 
all who assisted at his burial ! 

The Goths had done neariy the same for Alaric in 4 10, at Gosenga, 
a town in Calabria. They turned aside the river Yasento ; and having 
"^ Ibrmed a grave in the midst of its bed where its course was most 
rapid , they interred this king with prodigious accumulatioiis of 
' riches. After having caused the river to reassume its usual course , 
they murdered , without exception, all those who had been coBcera- 
ed in digging this singular grave. 


The vicar of Bray, in Berkshire , was a papist under the reign of 
Henry the Eighth , and a protestant under Edward the Sixth ; he was 
a papist again under Mary, and once more became a protestant in 
the reign of Elizabeth. When this scandal to the gown was reproach- 
ed for his versatility of religious creeds , and taxed for being a 
turncoat and an inconstant changeling, as FuUer expresses it , he re- 
plied , '^ Not so neither ; for if I changed my religion , I am sore 
I kept true to my principle; which is , to live and die tlM viear of 
Bray ! " 

lliis vivacious and reverend hero has given birth to a proverb 
peculiar to this county, '^ The vicar of Bray will be vicar of Bray 
still. '' But how has it happened that this vicar should be so nokK 
rious , and one in much higher rank, actiqg the same part , should 
have escaped notice ? Dr. Kitchen , bishop of Llandaff , ftom an idle 
abbot under Henry YIII. was made a busy bist^p; protestant uttder 
Edward, he retunied to his old master under Mary; and at last took 
the oath of supremacy under Elisabeth , and finished as a parlianient 
protestant. A pun spread the odium of his nmne; for they said that 
he had always loved the Kitchen better than the Church! 


It may be recorded as a species of Puritanic barbarism , that no 
later than the year 1757 , a man of genius was persecuted becanse 
he had written a tragedy which tended by no means to hurt the 
morals ; but , on the contrary , by awakening the piety of donestic 
affections with be noUer pai^ns, would rather elevate and purify 
the mind. 

When Home, the author of the tragedy of Douglas , had it per- 
formed at Edinburgh, and because some of the divines, his aquam- 
lance, attended the representation , the clergy , with the monastic 
^rit of the darkest ages, published tke present paper , whieb I 


diaH abridge for the contemphtioD of the reader, who may wonder 
fosee 8Qeh a compositioD written in the eighteenth century. 

"On Wedneeday , February the 2nd, 1767 , the Presbytery of 
fikiBgow came to the following resolution. They having seen a 
priDled pap^, iotitiiled , ' An admonition and exhortation of the 
itfotnd Preabylery of Edinburgh ;' which, among other evils pre- 
niBog, ofaaenring the following melancholy but notorious facts : 
aiat one who Is a minister of the church of Scotland did Aimself 
write and compoae a stage-play, intituled, ^ The tragedy of Doug- 
hs,' and got it to be acted at the tbeatre of Edinburgh^ and that he 
with 8eva*al other ministers of the church were present \ and some 
of Jhem ^tener than once , at the acting of the said play before a 
Dttmerous audience. The presbytery being deeply ajffected with 
Ibis new an^ strange appearance, do publish these sentiments,'" etc. 
Sentiments with which I will not disgust the reader; but which they 
appear not yet to have puriBed and corrected , as they hate shown 
in the ease of Lo|^ and other Scotchmen, who have committed the 
crying sin of composing dramas! 


Ma. Morin, in the Memoirs of the French Academy, has fiturmed 
a tittle History of Poverty, which I abridge. 

The writers on the genealogies of the gods have not noticed the 
Mly of poverty , though admitted as such in the pagan heaven , 
while she has bad temples and altars on earth. The allegorical Plato 
bas pleasingly narrated, that at the feast which Jiq[)iter gave on the 
birth of Venus, Poverty modestly stood at the gate of the palace to 
gather the fkagmenis of the celestial banquet; when she observed 
(he god of riches , inebriated with nectar , roll out of the heavenly 
re^dence , and passing into the Olymfrian gardens , throw himself 
OD a vernal bank. She seized this j^[>porlunity to become familiar 
with the god. The frolicksome deity honoured her with his caresses; 
aad froni this amour sprung the god of Love, who resembles his 
fiitherin J(^ty andHnrth, and his mother in his nudity. The allegory 
is iogenioiis. The union of poverty with riches must inevitably 
prodnee ttie naost delightftil of pleasures. 

The golden age, however, had but the duration of a flower; when 
it finished, poverty began to appear. The ancestors of the human 
race, if they did not meet her fiBM^e to dace, knew her in a partial 
degree ; the vagrant Cain encountered her. She was firmly established 
ia the patriarchal age. We hear of merchants who publicly practised 
the commerce of vending slaves, which indicates the utmost degree 
of poverty, ^le is distinctly marked by Job : thb holy man protests. 


that he had nothing to reproach himself with respecting (he poor^ 
for he had assisted them in their necessities. 

In the scriptures , legislators paid great attention to thehr relief. 
Moses, by his wise precautions, endeavoured to soften the rigoniB 
of this unhappy state. The division of lands, by tribes and families ^ 
(he septennial jubilees ; the regulation to bestow at the harvest time 
a certain portion of all the fruits of ttie earth for those families who 
were in want ; and the obligation of his moral law to love one'*s 
neighbour as one's self; were so many mounds erected against ttie 
inundations of poverty. The Jews under their Theocracy bad few or 
no mendicants. Their kings were unjust; and rapaciously seizing 
on inheritances which were not their right , increased the numbers 
of the poor. From the reign of David there were oppressive gover- 
nors y who devoured the people as their bread. It was still worse 
under the foreign powers of Babylon, of Persia, and the Roman 
emperors. Such were ttie extortions of their publicans , and the 
avarice of their governors, that the number of mendicants dreadftiliy 
augmented ; and it was probably for that reason tiiat the opulent 
families consecrated a tenth part of their property for their succour, 
as appears in ttie time of the evangelists. In the preceding ages do 
more was given, as their casuists assure us, than the fortieth or 
thirtieth part; a custom which this singular nation still practise. If 
there are no poor of their nation where they reside, they send it le 
the most distant parts. The Jewish merchants make this charity a 
regular charge in their transactions with each other; and at the 
close of the year render an account to the poor of their nation. 

By the example of Moses, the ancient legislators were taught to 
pay a simUar attention to the poor. Like him they pubUshed laws 
respecting the division oflands; and many ordinances were made for 
the benefit of those whom fires, inundations , wars, or bad harvests 
had reduced to want. Convinced \\idXidleness more inevitably intro- 
duced poverty than any other«€ause , it was rigorously punished ; 
the Egyptians made it criminal, and no vagabonds or mendicants 
were suffered under any pretence whatever. TOose who were con- 
victed of slothfhlness, and still refused to labour for the public when 
labour was offered to Uiem, were punished \nW\ death. The famous 
Pyramids, are the works of men who otherwi^ had remained vaga- 
bonds and mendicants. 

The same spirit inspired Greece. Lycurgus ^ouM not have in his 
republic either poor or rich : they lived and Laboured in conmion. 
As in the present times , every family has its stores and cellars , so 
they had public ones , and distributed the provisions according to 
the ages and consUhitions of the people. If the same regulation was 
not precisely observed by the Athenians , the Corinthians , and the 


Oilier people of Greece, Ihe same maxim existed in Ml force against 

According to the laws of Draco, Solon, etc. a conviction of wilful 
poferty was punished with Che loss of life. Plato, more gentle in his 
manners, would have them only banished. He calls them enemies of 
the state ; and pronounces as a maxim , ttiat where there are great 
mmnbers of mendicants, fatal revi^utions will happen ; for as these 
people have nothing to lose , they plan opportunities to disturb the 
public repose. 

The ancient Romans, whose universal object was the puMic pros- 
perity, were not indebted to Greece on this head. One of the prin- 
cipal occupations of thefar censors was to keep a watch on the 
vagabonds. Those who were condemned as incorrigible sluggards 
were sent to the mines , or made to labour on the public edifices. 
The Romans of those times, unlike the present race, did not consider 
(he Jar niente as an occupation ^ ttiey were convinced that their 
fiberalities were ill-placed in bestowing them on such men. The 
Httie repuUics of the bees and the ants were often held out as an 
example, and the last, particularly where Virgil says, that they have 
decled overseers who correct the iduggards. 

• Part agmina cogunt,. 

Ckstlgantque mores.' 

And if we may trust the narratives of our travellers, the bea^^ers 
pursue this regulation more rigorously and exactly than even these 
industrious societies. But their rigour, although but animals, is not 
so barbarous as that of the ancient Germans *, who , Tacitus informs 
us, plunged the idlers and vagabonds in the thickest mire of their 
marshes, and left them to perish by a kind of death which resembled 
their inactive dispositions. 

Yet , after an , it was not inhumanity that prompted the ancients 
thus severely lo chastise idleness-, they were induced to it by a strici 
equity; and it would be doing them ii^ustice to suppose, that it was 
thus they treated those unfortunate poor, whose indigence was 
occasioned by hiflrmiUes, by age, or unforeseen calamities. Every 
iamily constantly assisted its branches to save them ftrom being 
reduced to beggary, which to them appeared worse than death. The 
magistrates protected those who were destitute of friends , or inca- 
pable of labour. When Ulysses was disguised as a mendicant , and 
presented himself to Eurymachus , this prince observing him to be 
robust and healthy, offered to give him employment, or otherwise 
to leave him to his ill fortune. When the Roman emperors, even in 
the reigns of Nero and Tiberius, bestowed (heir largesses, ihe dis- 
tributers were ordered to exempt those from receiving a share whose 


bad conduct kepi thdm in misery-, for that it was be^r the lazy 
should die With hunger than be fed in idleness. 

Whether the p<^ce of the ancients was more exact , or wh^her 
they were more attentiye to practise the duties of humanity, or that 
slavery served as an efficacious corrective of idleness ; it clearly 
aH)ears how small was the misery , and how few the numbers of 
ttieir poor. This they, did too, with<Hit having recourse to hospitals. 

At the establishment of Christianity, when the apostles commanded 
a community of wedth among their disciples , the miseries of the 
poor became aUeJtiated in a greater degree. If they did not absc^utely 
live together, as we have seen religious orders , yet the wealthy con- 
tinually supplied their distressed brethren : but matters greatly 
changed under Constantino. This prmce published edicts in favour 
of those Christians who had been condemned in the preceding reigns 
to slavery, to the mines, the galleys , or prisons. The church felt 
an inundation of prodigious crowds of these miseraUe men, who 
brought with them urgent wants and corporeal infirmities. The 
Christian families were then not numerous ^ they could not satisfy 
these claimants. The magistrates protected them : they built spa- 
cious hospitals, under different* titles, Ibr the sick, the aged, the 
invalids , the widows , and orphans. The emperors , and the most 
eminent personages, were seen in these hospitals, examining ttie 
patients ^ they assisted the helpless; they dressed the wounded. This 
did so much honour to the new religion, that Julian the Apostate 
introduced this custom among the pagans. But the best things are 
continually perverted. 

These reh^eats were found insufficient. Many slaves, proud of the 
liberty they had just recovered, looked on them as prisons-, and, 
under various pretexts, wandered about the country. They displayed 
with art the scars of their former wounds , and exposed Uie imprint- 
ed marks of their chains. They found thus a lucrative profession in 
begging, which had been interdicted by the laws. The profession did 
not finish with them : men of an untoward, turbulent, and licentious 
disposition, gladly embraced it. It spread so wide that the succeed- 
ing emperors were obliged to institute new laws ; and individuals 
wore allowed to seize on these mendicants for their slaves and per- 
petual vassals : a powerful preservative against this disorder. It is 
observed in almost every part of the world , but ours ; and prevents 
that populace of beggary which disgraces Europe. China presents 
us with a noble example. No beggars are seen loitering in that 
country. AU the world are occupied, even to the blind and the 
lame -, and only those who are inc4)able of labour live at the public 
expense. What is done t/iere may also be performed here. Instead 
of that hideous, importunate, idle , licentious poverty, as pernicious 


to the police as to morality, we should seettie poverty of the earlier 
ages, humble , modes! , frugal , rofmst , industrious , and laborious. 
Then , indeed, the fable of Plato might be realised : Poverty may 
be embraced by the god of Riches; and if she did not produce the 
Y(4iq>^ious offiquring of Love , she would become the fertile mother 
of Agriculture, and the hagenious parent of the Arts and Manu- 


A RABBIN once UM me an ingenious invention, which in the 
Tafanud is attributed to Solomon. 

The power of the monarch had spread hts wisdom to the remot- 
est parts of the known world. Queen Sheba , attracted by the splend- 
our of his reputation, visited this poetical king at his own court; 
there , one day to exercise the sagacity of the monarch , Sheba pre- 
sented herself at the foot of the throne ; in each hand she held a 
wreath -, the one was composed of natural , and the other of artifi- 
cial , flowers. Art , in the labour of the mimetic wreath , had exqui- 
sitely emulated the lively hues of nature ; so that , at the distance 
it was held by the queen for the inspection of the king , it was deem- 
ed impossible for him to decide , as her question imported, which 
wreath was the production of nature , and which the work of art. 
The sagacious Solomon seemed perplexed ; yet to be vanquished, 
though in a trifle, by a trifling woman, irritated hi^ pride. The 
son of David , he who had written treatises on the vegetable produc- 
tions '^ from the cedar to the hyssop ,'' to acknowledge himself 
outwitted by a woman, with shre(fe of paper and glazed paintings ! 
The honour of the monarch's reputation for divine sagacity seemed 
dimioished, and the whole Jewish court looked solemn and me- 
lancholy. At length , an expedient presented itself to the king -, and 
one it must be confessed worthy of the naturalist. Observing a 
cluster of bees hovering about a window, he commanded that it 
should be opened : it was opened *, the bees rushed into the court , 
and alighted immediately on one of the wreaths , while not a single 
one fixed on the otUer. The baffled Sheba had one more reason to 
be astonished at the wisdom of Solomon. 

This would make a pretty poetical tale. It would yield an elegant 
description, and a pleasing moral ; that the bee only rests on the 
natural beauties, and neyev fxes on the painted flowers, how- 
ever inimitably the colours may be laid on. Applied to the ladies, 
this would give it pungency. In the "Practical Education" of the 
Edgeworths , the reader will find a very ingenious cortversalion 
founded on this story. 

no HELL. 


Oldham , in his ^^ Satires upon the Jesuite/' a work which would 
admit of a curious commentary, alludes to their ^^ lying legends/' 
and the innumerable impositions they practised on the credulous. I 
quote a few lines in which he has collected some of those legendary 
miracles, which I have noticed in the article Legenps, and the 
amours of the Virgin Mary are detailed in Vol. 11. art. Religious 

TeU, bow hletsed Fhrgin to come down was teoi. 

Like pla j-hoQM poq^ descending in machine , 

How sbe writ biUet doux and love^dueourse , 

Made assignations , visits ^ and amours ; 

How hosts distrost, her smock for Conner wore , 

Which vanqoished foes! 

— — how^A in conTenticles met. 

And mackerel were with hak of doctrine caught : 

How cattle have jndicions hearers been !-» 

How consecrated hives with bells were bnng. 

And bees kept mass , and holy anthems sung/ 

How pSgs to th* rosary kneeFd , and sheep were taoght 

To bleat Te Deum and Hagiuficat ; 

l^wnfiy-Jlap , of chvrch*censure houses rid , 

Of insects, which at awse ^Jfryor died. 

How ferrying cowls religious pilgrims bore 

0*er waves, without the help of sail or oar^ 

How zealous crab the sacred image bore , 

And swam a catholic to the distant shore. 

With shams like these the giddy ront mislead , 

Their folly and theur superstition feed. 

All these are allusions to the extravagant fictions in ^^ the Golden 
Legend.'' Among other gross impositions to deceive the mob , Old- 
ham Ukewise attacks them for certain publications on topics not 
less singular. The tales he has recounted, Oldham says, are only 
baits for children , like toys at a fair ; but they have their profounder 
and higher matters for the learned and the inquisitive. He goes 

on : — 


One undertakes by scales of miles to tell 
The bounds , dimensions , and extent of hbll ^ 
How many German leagues that realm contains ! 
How many chaldrons Hell each year expends 
In coals for roasting Hugouots and friends! 
Another frights the rout with useful stories 
Of wild Chimeras, limbos, vuegatoribs 
Where bloated souls in smoky durance hung 
Like a Westphalia gammon or neat's tongue, 
To be redeemed with masses and a soog. 

Satirk it. 

HELL. 171 

ThereadarsofOldhain, for Oldham must ever have readers among 
Ibe curious in our poetry, hate been greatly disappointed in the 
pompous edition of a Captain Thompson , v^hich illustrates none of 
his aHusions. In (he above lines Oldham alludes to some singular 

Treatises and topographical description of hell, purgatorv, 
and even heaven, vrere once the favourite researches among 
coiain zealous defenders of the Romish church , v^ho exhausted 
their ink-horns in building up a Hell to their own taste , or for their 
partieular purpose. We have a treatise of Cardinal BeUarmin , a 
Jesuit , on Purgatory ; he seems to have the science of a surveyor, 
among all the secret tracks and the formidable dtivisions of ^' the 
bottomless pit.'^ 

Bidlannin informs us that there are beneath the earth four different 
places , or a profound place dlTided into four parts. The deepest of 
these places is ^eZ/,- it contains all the souls of the damned , where 
win be also their bodies after the resurrection , and likewise all the 
demoi6. The place nearest BeU is Purgatory, where souls are 
purged, or rather where they appease the anger of God by their 
sufferings. He says ttiat the same fire and the same torments are 
alike in both these places , the only difference between Hell and 
Purgatory consisting in their duration. Next to Purgatory is the 
Umbo of those infants who die without having received the sacra- 
ment ; and the fourth place is the limbo of the Fathers; that is to 
say, of those /u^ men who died Mfore the death of Christ. But since 
the days of the Redeemer, this last divisiorf is empty, like an apart- 
ment to be let. A later catholic theologist, the famous Tillemont, 
condemns all the illustrious pagans to the eternal torments of' 
HeU! because they lived before the time of Jesus, and therefore 
could not be benefited by the redemption ! Speaking of young Tibe- 
rius , who was compelled to fall on his own sword , Tillemont adds , 
^^Thus by his own hand he ended his miserable life, to begin 
another, the misery (^ which ^'inll ne\fer end ! '* Yet history 
records nothing bad of this prince. Jortin observes that he added 
this re/lection in his later edition , so that the good man as he grew 
older grew more uncharitable in his religious notions. It is in this 
manner too that the Benedictine editor of Justin Martyr speaks of 
the illustrious pagans. This Father, after highly applauding Socrates, 
and a few more who resembled him, inclines to ttiink that they are 
not fixed in Hell. But the Benedictine editor takes great pains to 
clear the good father from the shameAil imputation of supposing 
Ihat a virtuous pagan might be saued as well as a Benedictine 
monk! For a curious specimen of this odium theologicum , see 
the «^ Censure ' of the Sorbonne on Marmonters Belisarius. 

m HELL. 

The adverse party, who were rither phlloscq^rs or refonnerr, 
received all such informaUon with great suspicioD. Anthony Cornel- 
llus , a lawyer in the IGth century, wrote a small tract, which was so 
effectually suppressed, aa a monster of atheism, that a copy is now 
only to be found in the hands of the curious. This author ridiculed 
the absurd and horrid doctrine of irtfaju damnation , and was in- 
stantly decried as an atheist, and the printer prosecuted to his rain! 
Caelius Secundus Curio, a noUe Italian, published a treatise De 
AmpUtudine bead regni Dei, to prove that Heaven has more 
inhabitants than Hell, or in his own phrase that the elect are more 
numerous than the reprobate. However we may incline to smile at 
these works , their design was benevolent. They were the first streaks 
of the morning light of the Reformation. Even such works assisted 
mankind to examine more closely, and hold in greater contempt, the 
extravagant ad pernicious doctrines of the domineering pajnsticai 


Thb character of Bruy^re's Absent Man has been translated in the 
Spectator, and exhibited on the theatre. It is supposed to be a flctr- 
tious character, or one highly cdoured. It was well known, howe- 
ver, to his contemporaries to be the Count de Brancas. llie pre- 
sent anecdotes concerning the same person have been unknown to, 
or forgotten by, Bruy^re; and are to the full as extraordinary 9s 
those which characterize MerudSbs , or the Absent Man. 

The count was readinfg by the fireside, but Heaven knows wifli 
what degree of attention, when the nurse brought Mm his mfant 
child. He throws down the f)ook -, be takes the child in his arms. He 
was playing with her, when an' important vfeiter was announced. 
Having forgot he had quitted h% book, and that it was his child he 
hekl in his hands , he hastily flung the squalling innocent on the 

The count was walking in the street , and the Duke de la Rocher 
foucault crossed the way lo speak to him. — '^ God bless thee, poor 
man ! '' exclaimed the count. Rochefoucault smiled , and was begin- 
ning to address him :— " Is it not enough ," cried the count , inter- 
rupting him , and somewhat in a passion , ^^ is it not enough that I 
have said, at first, I have nothing for you? Such lazy vagranis as 
you hinder a gentleman from walking the streets.'' Rochefoucault 
burst into a loud laugh , and awakening the Absent Man from his 
leQiargy, he was not a littte surprised , himsdf , that he should have 
taken his firiend for an importunate mendicant! La Fontaine is re- 
corded to have been one of the most absent men ) and Fureti^ 
relates a most singular instance of this absence of mind. La Fontahie 


attended the fNirial of one of his fKencte, and some lime afterwards 
be eaHed to tisit hhn. At first he was shocked at (he information of 
bis death; fmt recovering from his* surprise , obsenred— ^^ True ! 
IVue! I recoUeel I went to his fhneral.'' 


We have heard of many curitras deoeptioiis occasioned by the 
imitative powers of wax-work. A series of anatomical sculptures in 
eokmred wax waa projected by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, under 
(he directioa of Fontana. Twenty apartments have been filled with 
Uioee curious imitaticms. They represent in every possible detail , 
9m1 in each successive stage ctf denudation , Ihe organs of sense and 
reproduction; the muscular, the vascular, fhe nervous, and the 
bony system. They imitate equally well the form , and more exacUy 
(he colouring of nature than injected preparatlOBS ; and they have 
beeaeni|^3red to perpetuate many transieBt phenomena of disease, 
of wbieb no other art could have made so lively a record. 

There is a qiedes of wax-work, which, though it can hardly 
daim ttw honours of the fine arts, la adapted to afford much plea- 
sure. I mean figures of wax, wych may be uMNleHed w|th great 
truth of character. 

Iftoiage has noticed a work of this khid. In the year 1675, the 
Duke de Maine received a gilt cabinet, about the size of a moderate 
table. On the door was hiscribed ^^ The Apartment (^ Wit:' The 
inside exhibited an alcove and a long gallery. In an arm-chair was 
sealed the figure of the duke himself composed of wax, tberesem- 
blauce the most perfect imaginable. On one side stood the Duke 
de la Rochefoucault , to whon he presented a paper of verses for his 
examination. M. deMardHac, and Bossuet Bishop of Meaux, were 
standing near the armH^hair. In the alcove, MacHime de Thianges 
andHadamedebiFayettetet retired, reading a book. Boileau, the 
satirist, stood at the door of the gaUery, hindering seven or eight 
bad poets from entering. Near Bdleau stood Racine , who seemed 
to beckon to La Fontaine to come forwards. AH these figures were 
f6nned of wax \ and this philosophiccd baby-house, interesting for 
the personages it imitated, might induce a wish in some philoso* 
phers to play once more vntfa one. 

There was tel^ an old canon at Cologne who made a collection 
of small wax models of characteristic figures, such as personifications 
of Misery, in a haggard old man with a scanty crust and a brown 
jug before him ; or of Avarice , in a keen-4ooking Jew miser count- 
ing his goM , which were done with such a spirit and reality that a 
Flemiab painter, a Hogarth or Wilkie, could hardly have worked 

174 WAX-WORK. 

up ibe feeling of the figure more iropresBifely. ^^AH these were 
done with a truth and expression which I could not hare imagined 
the wax capable of exhiUting/! says the lively writer of ^^An Autumn 
near the Rhine/' There is something very infkntine hi this taste ; 
but I lament that it is yery rarely gratified by such close copiers o€ 
nature as was this old canon of Cologne. 


All the world have heard of these statues : they have served as 
vehicles for the keenest satire in a land of the most uncontrolled 
despotism. The statue qfPasguin (fh>m whence the word pasgui-- 
node) and that of Marforio are placed in Rome in two difliereDt 
quarters. Marforio is an ancient statue of Mars found in the Fo- 
rum^ which the peq)le have corrupted into Marforio. Pasquin 
is a marble statue, greatly mutilated , supposed to be the figure or 
a gladiator. To one or other of these statues , during the conceal- 
ment of the night y are affixed those satires or lampoons which the 
authors wish should be dispersed about Rome without any danger 
to themselves. When Marforio is attacked, Pasquin comes to his 
succour^ and when Pasquin is the sufferer, he finds in Marforio 
a constan\ defender. Thus , by a thrust and a parry, the most serious 
matters are disclosed : and the most illustrious personages are at- 
tacked by their enemies, and defended by their fHends. 

Misson, in his Travels in Italy, gives thefoUowing account of 
the origin of the name of the statue of Pasquin : — 

A satirical tailor, who lived at Rome , and whose name was Pas-' 
quin, amused himself by severe raillery, liberally bestowed on those 
who passed by his shop ; which in time became the lounge of the 
newsmongers. The tailor had precisely the ialents to head a regi- 
ment of satirical wits; and had he had time to publish y he would 
have been the Peter Pindar df his day \ but his genius seems to have 
been satisfied to rest crosslegged on his shopboard. When any lam- 
poons or amusing bon-mots were current at Rome , they were 
usually called , flrom his shop , pasquinades. After his death this 
statue of an ancient gladiator was found under the pavement of his 
shop. It was soon set up, and by universal consent was inscribed 
with his name*, and they still attempt to raise him (h)m the dead, 
and keep the caustic tailor alive , in the marble gladiator of wit. 

There is a very rare work, with this title: — ^^Pasquillorum, 
Tomi Duo.'' The first containing the verse, and the second the prose 
pasquinades, published at Basle, 1544. The rarity of this collection 
of satirical pieces is entirely owing to the arts of suppression prac- 
iised by the papal government. Sallengre , in his literary Me-» 


Bioirs, has glfen an account of this work; his own c(q)y had for- 
merly belonged to Daniel Heuisius, who, in two verses written in 
his iiand , describes its rarity and the price it cost« 

Roma meoft fratres igni dedit, anica Plicsnix 
^iTO y aurois^d TWiio coaluiD Hcmiio. 

" Rome gaye mj brothers to the flames , bat I surriye a solitary Phoenix. 
Hdnsiiis boii|^t me for a hundred golden dacata.** 

This coUection contains a great number of pieces composed at 
different times, against the popes, cardinals, etc. They are not 
indeed materials for the historian , and they must be taken with 
grains of allowance. We find sarcastic epigrams on Leo X., and the 
iniiunons Lucrelia of Alexander YI. : eyen the cArrupt Romans of 
the day were capaUe of expres^g themselves with the utmost 
freedom. Of Alexander YI. we have an iq[K>iogy for his conduct. 

Tendit Alexander dares, altaria , Qmstam , 
Emerat iUe prnu , vendere jure potest. 

^ Alexander seUt the ^eys , the altars , and Christ; 
As he bought them first, he had a right to sell them/** 

On Lucretia : — 

Hoc tnmnlo dormit Lecretia nomine , sed re 
Thais J Alexandri filia , sponsa, nnms ! 

" Beneath this stone sleeps Lncretia by name, but by nature Tliais^ the 
Jaoghter, the wife , and the daughter-in-law (rf Alexander I ** 

Leo X. was a fk^quent butt for the arrows of Pasqutn : — 

Sacra snb extremi, si forte reqoirilis, horA 
Dir Leo noa potnit smnere ; reodiderat. 

'* DbyoQ ask why Leo did not take the saorament on his deathbed ? — How 

Many of these sathrical touches depend on puns. Urban YII., one 
of ttie Barberini family, pillaged the pantheon of brass to make 
eannon, on which occasion Pasquin was made to say : — 

Qaod oon fecenmt Barhari RonuB , fecit Barberini^ 

On Clement YII., whose death was said to be occasioned by the 
prescriptions of his physician : 

Cortins occidit Clementem, Cortios auro 
Bonandns, per qaem poblica parta sains. 

" Dr. Cnrlius has killed the pope bj his remedies ^ he ought to be remu-i 
oersted as a man who has cured the state," 


The foHowing , on Paul III.> are singular conceptions : — 

Papa Madnamim caput eit, coma tnrba Nepotnm : 
Penea cade caput , Oesaries periiL 

<* The pope is the head of Medusa; the horrid tresses are his nephews; 
PerseiM, cut off the head , and then we shall be rid of these serpent-locks." 

Another is sarcastic — 


Vt canerent data moHa oUm sinit Tatibns ara : 
Ut taceam , qnaatom ta mihi, Panla , dahit? 

'< Heretofore money was given to poets that thej might siog : how much 
will you give me , Pjiul , to be silent P ** 

This collection contains, among other classes , passages from the 
Scriptures which hare been applied to the coivt of Rome; to dif- 
ferent nations and persons \ and one of " Sortes Kirgiliarue per 
Pasquillum coUectoe^'' — passages from VirgU frequently happily 
applied ; and those who are curious in the history of those times 
will find this portion interesting. The work itself is not quite so 
rare as Daniel Heinsius imagined ; the price might now reach from 
five to ten guineas. 

These satirical statues are placed at opposite ends of the town , so 
that there is always sufficient time to make Marforio reply to the 
gibes and Jeers of Pasquin in walking from one to the other. They 
are an ingenious substitute for publishing (o the world , what no 
Roman newspaper would dare to print. 


The ladies in Japan gild their teeth ; and those of ttie Indies 
paint ttiem red. The pearl of teeth must be dyed black to be beau- 
tiful in Guzerat. In Greenland the wopen colour their faces with 
blue and yellow. Howeyer fresh the complexion of a Muscovite may 
be y she would ttiink herself very ugly if she was not plastered over 
with paint. The Chinese must have their feet as diminutive as those 
of the she-goats \ and to render them thus, their youth is passed in 
tortures. In ancient* Persia an aquiline nose was oflen thought 
worUiy of Uie crown \ and if there was any competition between 
two princes, the people generally went by this criterion of mi^jesty. 
In some countries , the mothers break the noses of their children ; 
and in others press the head between two boards , that it may be- 
come square. The modern Persians have a strong aversion to red 
hair : the Turks , on the contrary, are warm admirers of it. The 
female Hottentot receives from Uie hand of her lover, not silks nor 


HfTeatiis of flowers , but warm guts and reeking tripe, to dress herself 
^ifl) eoriable ornaments. 

In China small round eyes are liked ; and the girls are continually 
ptacking their eye-brows , that they may be thin and long. The 
Turkish women dip a gold brush in the tincture of a black drug , 
which they pass over their eye-brows. It is too visible by day, but 
looks shining by night. They tinge their nails with a rose colour. 
An African beauty must have small eyes, thick lips, a large flat 
qose , and a skin beautifully black. The Emperor of Monomotapa 
wonld not change his amiable negress for the most briUiant Euro- 
* pean beauty. 

An ornament for the nose appears to us perfectly unnecessary. 
The Peruvians , however, think otherwise ^ and they hang on it a 
' weighty ring , the thickness of which is proportioned by the rank 
of Uieir husbands. The custom of boring it , as our ladies do their 
ears , is very common in several nations. Through the perforation 
are hung various materials ^ such as green crystal , gold , stones , a 
single and sometimes a great number of gold rings. This is rather 
troublesome to them in blowing their noses ^ and the fact is, as some 
have informed us , that the Indian ladies never perform this very 
useful qperation. 
The female head-dress is carried iti ^onie countries to singular. 
j extravagance. The Chinese Mr carries on her h«ad the figure of a 
' certain bird. This bird is composed of copper or of gold, according 
to the quality of the person -, the wings spread out, faU over the 
front of the head-dress , and conceal the temples. The tail , long 
and open, fomis a beautif\il tuft of feathers. The beak covers the 
top of the nose ; the neck is fastened to the body of the artificial 
animal by a spring , that it may the more freely play , and tremble 
' at the slightest motion. 

The extravagance of the Myantses is far more ridiculous than the 

aJbove. They carry on their heads a slight board , rather longer than 

a foot, and about six inches broad; with this .they cover their hair, 

and seal it vrith wax. They cannot lie down , or lean , without keep* 

I ing the neck straight*, and the country being very woody, it is not 

I uncommon to find them with their head-dress entangled in the trees. 

I Whenever they comb their hair, they pass an hour by the fire in 

' melting the wax; but this combing is only performed once or twice 

a year. 

The inhabitants of the land of Natal wear caps or bonnets, from 
six to ten inches high, composed of the fat of oxen. They then 
gradually anoint the head with a purer grease , which mixing with 
the hair, fastens these bonnets for their lives. 



Erasmus in his Age of Religious Reyolution expressed an alarm , 
^hich in some shape has been since realized. He strangely, yet 
acutely observes, that ^' /iWamre began to make a great and hai^y 
progress^ but,'' he adds, ^^I fear two things — that the study of 
Hebrew will promote Judaism , and the study of philology will 
revive paganism.'' He speaks to the same purpose in the Adage%, 
c. 189 , as Jortin observes. Blackwell , in his curious Life of Ho- 
mer, afler showing that the ancient oracles were the fountains of 
knowledge, and that the votaries of the god of Delphi had their 
failh confirmed by the oracle's perfect acquaintance with the coun- 
try, parentage , and fortunes of the suppliant , and many predictkins 
verified *, that besides all this , the oracles that have reached us dis- 
cover a wide knowledge of every thing relating to Greece^ — tliis 
learned writer is at a loss to account for a knowledge that he thinks 
has something divine in it : it was a knowledge to be found nowhere 
in t^reece but among the Oracles. He would account for ihis phe- 
nomenon , by supposing there existed a succession of learned men 
devoted to this purpose. He says , ^'Either we must admit the know- 
ledge of the priests , or turn concerts to the ancients, and believe 
in the omniscience of Apollo , which in this age I know nobody 
in hazard of.'' Yet to the astonishment of this writer, were he now 
living , he would have witnessed this incredible fact ! Even Erasmus 
himself might have wondered. 

We discover the origin of modern platonism , as it may be 
distinguished , among the Italians. About the middle of the filleenlh 
century , some time before the Turks had become masters of Con- 
stantinople, a great number of philosophers flouri^ed. Gemisthus 
Pletho was one distinguished by his genius, his erudition, and 
his fervent passion for platonism. Mr. Roscoe notices Pletho : 
^^ His discourses had so powerful an e(Tect upon Cosmo de Medici , 
who was his constant auditor, that be established an academy at 
Florence, for the sole purpose of cultivating this new and more 
elevated species of philosophy." The learned MarsiUo Ficino trans- 
lated Plotinus , that great archimage of platonic mysUcism. Such j 
were Pletho's eminent abilities , that in his old age those whom hi& 
novel system had greatly irritated either feared or respected him. 
He had scarcely breathed his last when they began to abuse Plato 
and our Pletho. The following account is written by George of Trc 

''Lately has risen amongst us a second Mahomet : and this se- 
cond , if we do not take care , will exceed in greatness the first, by | 


the dreidfiil eonseqaenceg of his wicked doetrine, as the first has 
exceeded Plato. A disciple and riral of ^ philosophy in philoso* 
phy, in eloquence, and in scienc^ he had fixed his residence in 
the P^<qM>nnese. His common name was Gemisthus, but he assu- 
med that of Pletho. Perhaps Gemisthus , to make us beUeye more 
etfily that he was descended firom heaven, and to engage us to re* 
ceiye more readUy his dbctrine and his new law, wished to change 
his name , according to the manner of the ancient patriarchs \ of 
whom it is said , that at the time the name was changed they were 
called to the greatest things. He has written with no yuigiir art , and 
with no common elegance. He has given new rules ibr the conduct 
of life , and for the regulation of human affairs^ and at the same 
time has vomited forth a great number of idasphemies against the 
Catholic religion. He was so zealous a [datonist ^t he enlertaihed 
no other sentim^ito than those of Plato, concerning the nature of 
Oie gods, souls , sacrifices , etc. I have heard him myself, when we 
were together at Florence, say, that in a few years aH men on the face 
of the earth would embrace with one common consent , and with one 
mind , a single and simple rdigion , at the first instructions which 
should be given by a single preaching. And when I asked him if it 
would be the religion of Jesus Christ , or that of Mahomet ? he an- 
swered, ^Neither one nor the others but a third, wMch}wfll not greatly 
Uttet from paganism.' These words I heard with so much indig- 
nation , that since that time I have always hated him : I look upon 
Hm as a dangerous viper; and I cannot think of him without ab- 

The pious writer might have been satisfied to have bestowed a 
snile of pity or contempt. 

When Pletho died f^ of years and honours, the malice of his 
enemies c<^ected all its venom. This circumstance seems to prove 
that his abilities must have been great indeed to have k^t such 
crowds silent. Several catholic writers lament that his book was 
burnt , and regret the loss of Pletho's work ; which , they say, was 
not designed to subvert the Christian religion , but only to unfold 
the system of Plato, and to cc^ect what he and other philosophers 
had written on religim and politics. 

or his religious scheme , the reader may judge by this summury 
account. The general title of the volume ran thus : ^'This book 
treats of the laws of the best form of government, and what aU 
men must observe in ihdr public and private stations , to live toge- 
Iher in the most perfect , the most innocent, and the most happy 
manfler." The whole wie divided into ttiree books. The titles of the 
chapters where paganism was openly indicated are reported by 
Gcnnadius , whq condemned it to the flames , but w^ has not 


thought proper (o enter into the manner of his arguments. The 
extravagance of this new legislator appeared above all, in the arti- 
cles which concerned religion|He acknowledges a phnrality of go<ls : 
some superior, whom he placed above the heavens; and the others 
inferior, on this side the heavens. The first existing from the remo- 
test antiquity \ the others younger, and of different ages. He gave 
a king to all these gods ; and he called him zets, or Jupiter; as 
the pagans named this power formerly. According to him, the 
stars had a soul; the demons were not malignant spirits; and the 
world was eternal. He established polygamy, and was even inclined 
to a community of women. All his work was filled with such reve- 
ries, and with not a few impieties, which my pious author has not 
ventured to give. 

What were the intentions of Pletho? If the work was only an 
arranged system of paganism , or the platonic philosophy, it might 
have been an innocent, if not a curious volume. He was learned 
and humane , and had not passed his life entirely in the solitary 
recesses of his study. 

To strain human curiosity to the atmost limits of human credi- 
bility, a modern Pletho has arisen in Mr. Thomas Taylor ^ who, 
consonant to the platonic phUosophy, in the present day reHgiously 
professes polytheism! At the close of the eighteenth century, i)e it 
recorded , were published many volumes , in which the author affects 
to avow himself a zealous Platonist , and asserts that he can prove 
that the Christian religion is ^ a bastardized and barbarous Plato- 
nism ! '' The divinities of Plato are the divinities to be adored , and 
we are to be taught to call God , Jupiter ; the Virgin , Venus ; and 
Christ , Cupid ! The Iliad of Homer allegorised , is converted into 
a Greek bible of the arcana of nature ! Extraordinary as this literary 
lunacy may appear, we must oI>serve , that it stands not singular 
in the annals of the history of the human mind« The Florentine 
academy, which Cosmo founded , had , no doubt , some classical 
enthusiasts; but , who perhaps , according to the political character 
of their country, were prudent and reserved. The platonic ftiror, 
however, appears to have reached other counhies. In the reign of 
Louis XII a scholar named Hemon de la Fosse , a native of Abbe- | 
viUe , by continually reading the Greek and Latin writers, became 
mad enough to persuade himself that it was impossible that the 
religion of such great geniuses as Homer, Qcero , and Virgil was | 
a false one. On the 25th of August, 1503, being at church, he { 
suddenly snatched the host from the hands of the priest , at the 
moment it was raised, exclaiming; "What! always this folly?" 
He was immediately seized. In the hope that he would abjure his 
extravagant errors, they delayed his punishment; but no exhortation 


nor intreaties availed. He persisted in maintaining tliat Jupiter was 
the soTereign God of the universe , and that there was no other 
paradise than the Elysian fields. He was burnt alive , after having 
first had his tongue pierced , and his hand cut off. Thus perished an 
anient and learned youth , who ought only to have been condemned 
» a Becflandte. 

Dr. More , the most rational of our mddern'Platontsts, abounds, 
however, with the most extravagant reveries, and was inflated with 
^otism and enthusiasm, as much a^ any of his mystic predecessors. 
He conceived that he communed with the iMvlnity itself! that he had 
been shot as a fiery dart into the world, and he hoped he had hit 
the mark. He carried his self-conceit to such extravagance , that he 
thought his urine smelt like violets , and his body in the spring sea- 
son had a sweet odour; a perfection peculiar to himself. These vision- 
aries indulge the most fanciful vanity. 

Ttic " sweet odours," and that of " the violets," might, howe- 
ver have been real — for they mark a certain stage of the disease of 
diabetes, as appears in a medical tract by the ekler Dr. Latham. 


A VOLUME on this subject might be made very curious and enter- 
taining, lor our ancestors were not less vacillating, and perhaps 
more capriciously grotesque, though with infinitely less taste than ' 
the present generation. Were a philosopher and an artist , as well as 
an antiquary, to compose such a work , much diversified entertain^ , 
ment , and some curious investigation of Uie progress of the arts 
and taste, would doubtless be the result ; the subject otherwise a[>- 
pears of trifling value ; the very farthing pieces of history. 

The origin of many fashions was in ttie endeavour to conceal . 
some deformity of the inventor : hence the cushions, ruSs, hoops, 
and other monstrous devices. If a reigning beauty chanced to have 
an unequal hip, those who had very handsome hips wouM load them 
with that false rump which the other was compelled by the unkind- 
ness of nature to substitute. Patches were invented in England 
in the reign of Edward YI. by a foreign lady, who in this manner 
ingeniously covered a wen on her neck. Full-bottomed wigs were 
invented by a French barber, one Duviller, whose name they per- 
petuated, for the purpose of concealing an elevation in the shoulder 
of the Dauphin. Charles YII. of France introduced long coats to 
hide his ill-made legs. Shoes with very long points, full two feet in 
length , were invented by Henry Plantagenet, Duke of Anjou, to 
conceal a large excrescence on one of his feet. When Francis I. 
was oUiged to wear his hair short , owing to a wound he received 


in the head , il became a prerailihg ftohion at court. Others , on 
the contrary, adopted flashions to set off their peculiar beauties ; as 
Isabella of Bayaria, remarkable for her gallantry, and the foimess 
of her comi^exion , introduced the fashion of leading the shoulden 
and part of the neck uncovered. 

Fashions haye firequently originated firom circumstances as silly 
as the fbllowing one. Isabella, daughter of Philip II. and wife of 
ttie Archduke Albert , vowed not to change her linen tiU Ostend was 
taken ; thisiriege, unluckily for her comfort, lasted three years ; and 
the supposed colour of ttie archduchess's linen gave rise to a flMh- 
• ionable colour , hence called risabeau, or the Isabella; a kind of 
vrhitish-yellowHlingy. Sometimes they originatein some temporary 
event : as after the battle of Steenkirk , where the allieEr wore laq^e 
cravats , by which ttie French (Irequently seized hoM of them , a 
circumstance perpetuated on the medals of Louis XIV., cravats were 
called Steenkirks; and after the battle of Ramillies , wigs received 
that denomination. 

The court, in all ages (md in every country, are the modellers 
of fashions ; so that aU the ridicule , of which these are so suscep- 
tible , must fall on them ,^ and not upon their servile imitators the 
citizens. This complaint is made even so far back as in 1586 , by 
JeaA des Caures, an old French moralist, who, in declaiming 
against the ftishions of his day, notices one, of the ladies carrying 
mirrors fixed to their waists, which seemed to employ Oieir eyes 
in perpetual activity. From this mode will result , according to ho- 
nest Des Caures , their eternal damnation. '^ Alas! (he exclaims) in 
what an age do we live : to s^ such depravity which we see , that 
induces them even to bring into church these scandalous mirrors 
hanging about their waists/ Let aU histories divine , human , and 
profone , be consulted ; never will it f>e found that these objects of 
vanity were ever thus brought into public by the most meretricious 
of the sex. It is true , at present none but the ladies of the court 
venture to wear them ^ but long it will not be before ei^ry citizen's 
daughter and ererj female servant, will have them ! '' Such in 
all times has been the rise and decline of fashion ^ and the absurd 
mimickry of the citizens, even of the lowest classes, to their very 
ruin, in straining to rival the newest fashion , has mortified and 
galled the courtier. 

On this subject old Camden , in his Remains , relates a story of a 
trick played off on a citizen, which I give in the plainness of his own 
venerable style. ^* Sir Philip Calthrop purged John Drakes the 
shoemaker of Norwich, in ttie time of King Henry VIII. of the 
proud humour which our people has^e to be cfthe gentlemen's 
cut. This knight f>ought on a time as much fine French tawny cloth 


96 should Biakc him a gown , an4 sent it to the taylor's to be made. 
John Drakes, a shoemaker of that town , coming to this said taylor's 
and seeing the knight's gown cloth lying there , liking it well , cau- 
sed the taylor to buy him as much gf the same cloth and price to 
the same intent, and Airther bade him to make it of the same fa- 
shion that the knight would hasfe his made of. Not long after , 
the knight coming to the tayior's to take measure of his gown , per- 
eei¥ing the like ctoih lying there , asked of the taylor whose It was ? 
Qiiolh the taylor, it is John Drakes the shoemaker who will haTe it 
mmde €f the self -same fashion that youths is made of! * Well ! 
said the knight, ^ in good time be it! I will haye mine made 9sfuU , 
(fcuts as thy shears can make it.' ^ It shall be done ! ' said the 
taykM-; whereupon, because the time drew near, he made haste to 
inish ix>th their garments. John Drakes had no time to go to the 
taylor's till Christmas-day, for serving his customers , when he 
hoped to have worn his gown ; perceiving the same to be full of' 
cuts began to swear at the taylor, for the making his gown after 
thai sort. ^ I have done nothing , ' cpioth the taylor, ^ but that you 
bid me ; for as Sir Philip Galthrop's garment is , even so have I 
made yours! ' ^ By my latchet ! ' quoth John Drakes, ^ I will never 
wear gentlemen's fashions again! ' " 

Sometimes feshions are cpiite reversed in their use in one age 
(hMD another. Bags, when first in fashion in France, were only 
worn en deshabiUe; in visits of ceremony, the hair was tied by a 
riband and floated over the shoulders , which is exactly reversed in 
the present fiBishion. In the year 1735 the men had no hats but a 
little chapeau de bras; in 1745 they wore a very small hat ; in 1755 
fbey wore an enormous one , as may be seen in JefTrt'y's ciirioa^ 
'' Collection of Habits in all ligations. '' Old Puttenham , in '' The 
Artof Poesie , '' p. 239, on the present topic gives some i urious in- 
formation. '^ Henry YIII. caused his own head , and ail hi& cour- 
liers , to f>e polled, and his beard to be cut short; bffore ihat 
time it vMS thought more decent, bolh for old men anri young , to 
be ail shaven, and weare long haire, either rounded or square. 
Now again at this time ( Elizabeth's reign) , the yount^ KiMiUenien 
of the court have taken up die long haire trayling an ihcir 
dMNilders , and think this more decent; for what respect I would 
be glad to know. '' 

When the foir sex were accustomed to behold their lovers with 
beards , the sight of a shaved chin excited feelings of horror and 
aversion \ as Biuch indeed as, in this less heroic age, would a 
gayant whose luxuriant beard should 

** Stream like a meteor to tbe trovbled air." 


When Louis YII., to ofiey the ii^opUonsof his bishopft, cropped 
his hair, and shaved bis heard, Eleanor, Us consort, found him , 
mih this onusual appearance , Terj: riiticulous , and soon very con- 
temptible. She revenged herself as she tlumght proper, and the 
poor shaved king ot^tained a divorce. She then married the Goool 
ofAi^jou , afterwards our Henry II. She had for bet marriage dower 
the rich provinces of Poitou andGuyenne^ and this was the origin 
of those wars which for three hundred years ragged France , and 
cost the French three millions of men. Al} which, probably, had never 
occurred , had Louis YII. not been so rash as to crop hU head and 

^ shave his beard , by which he became so disgustful in the eyes of 

' our Queen Eleanor. 

We cannot perhaps sympathise with the feelings of her majesty, 
though at Constantinople she might not have been considered 
unreasonable. There must be something more powerful in beards 
and mustachios than we are quite aware of; for when these were 
^ ) in fashion — and long after this was written the fashion has 
returned on us^— with what enthusiasm were they not contemplated ! 

' When mustachios were in general use , an author, in his Elements 
of Education , published in 1640, thinks that '^ hairy excrement , " 
as Armado in ^' Love's Labour Lost'' calls it, contributed to make 
men valorous. He says , " I have a favourable opinion of that young 
gentleman who is curious in fine mustachios. The time he employs 
in adjusting , dressing , and curling them ; is no lost time ; for the 
more he contemplates his mustachios , the more his mind will 
cherish and be animated by masculine and courageous notions. ** 
The best reason that could be given for wearing the longest and 
largest beard of any Englishman was that of a worthy clergyman 
in Elizabeth's reign , ^' that no act of his life might be unworthy of 
the gravity of his appearance. " 

The grandfather of M rs.Tbomas , the Corinna of Cromwell , 
the literary friend of Pope , by he* account , *' was very nice in the 
mode of that age , his valet being some hours every morning in 
starching /lis beard and curling his whiskers ,• during which Ume 
he was always read to. " Taylor, the water poet, humorously des- 
cribes the great variety of beards in his lime, which extract may be 
found in Grey's Hudibras , vol. I. p. 300. The beard dwindled 
gradually under the two Charleses , till it was reduced into w/us-- 
hersy and became extinct in the reign of James II. , as if its fatality 
had been connected with that of the house of Stuart. 

The Hair has ih all ages been an endless topic for the declama- 
tion of the moralists , and the favourite object of fashion. If the 
beau monde wore their hair luxuriant, or their wig enormous , the 
preachers , in Charles the Second's reign , instantly were seen in 


the pnipit wilh their hair cut shorter, and their sermon longer, in 
consequence; respect ytos , however, paid by the workl to the size 
of Ibe wig, in sfkte of the /lain^utter in the pulpit. Our judges , 
and till lately our physicians , well knew its magical effect. In 
Ibe reign of Charles II. the hair-dress of the ladies was very elabo- 
rate^ ii was not only curled and Alzzled with the nicest art, but set 
off with certain artificial curls , then too emphatically known by 
Ibe pathetio 4erms of heartrbreakers and lovelocks. So late as 
William and Mary, lads , and even children , wore wigs ; and if 
Ibey had not wigs, they curled their hair to resemble this fashion- 
able ornament. Women then were the hair-dressers. 

There are flagrant follies in fashion which must be endured 
while they reign , and which never appear ridiculous till they are 
oat of fashion. In the reign of Henry III. of France, they could 
Dot exist without an abundant use of comfits. All the world, the 
grave and the gay, carried in their pockets a comfit-box , as we 
do SBu&Jwxes. They used them even on the most solemn occasions : 
when the Duke of Guise was shot at Blois, he was found with his 
comfilrhox in his band. — ^Fashions indeed have been carried to so 
extravagaDt a length , as to have become a public offence, and to 
bave required the interference of government. Short and tight 
breeches were so much the rage in France , that Charles V. was 
compelled to banish this disgusting mode by edicts which may be 
f(|m4 in Mezeray . An Italian author of the fifteenth century supposes 
aa Italian traveller of nice modesty would not pass through France, 
Ihat he might not be offended by seeing men whose clothes rather 
exposed their nakedness than hid it. The very same fashion was the 
complaint in the remoter period of our Chaucer in his Parson's Tale. 

In the reign of our Elizabeth the reverse of all this took placed 
Ihen file mode of enormous breeches was pushed to a most laugh- 
able excess. The beaux of that day stuffed out their breeches with 
rags, feathers , and other light matters , till they brought them out 
lo an enormoos size. They resembled wool-sacks , and in a pubhc 
^leetacle they were obliged to raise scaffolds for the seats of these 
ponderous beaux. To accord with this fantastical taste , the ladies 
invented large hoop farthingales -, two lovers aside could surely nc- 
^ have taken one another by the hand. In a preceding reign the 
fohion ran on square toes ; insomuch that a proclamation was issued 
that no person should wear shoes above six inches square at the toes ! 
Then succeeded picked-pointed shoes ! The nation was agam, in the 
J^dgn of Elizabeth , put under the royal authority. " In that lime ," 
says honest John Stowe , '^ he was held the greatest gallant that had 
the deepest ruff' and longest rapier : the offence to the eye of the 
one , and hurt unto the fife of the subject that came by the other 


— this caused her Ma^jestie to make proclamation against them 
' both y and to pUice selected grai^e citizens at ei^ery gate , to cut 
the ruffes y and breake the rapiers points of all passengers that 
exceeded a yeard in length of their rapiers , and a nayle of a yeaid 
in depth of their ruffes." These " graye citizens ," at every gate ciM- 
ting the ruffs and breaking the rapiers , must doubtless hate en- 
countered in their ludicrous employment some stubborn opposition ; 
but this regulation was in the spirit of that age , despotic and effec- 
tual. Paul , the Emperor of Russia, one day ordered the soldiers to 
stop eyery passenger who wore pantaloons , and with their hangers 
to cut off, upon- the leg, the offending part of these superfluous 
breeches ^ so that a man's legs depended greatly on the adrottness 
and humanity of a Russ or a Cossack : however this war against pan- 
taloons was very successful^ and obtained a complete triumph in 
favour of the breeches in the course of the week. 

A shameful extravagance in dress has been a most venerable folly. 
In the reign of Richard II. their dress was sumptuous beyond bdief. 
Sir John Arundel had a change of no less than fifty-two new suits 
of cloth of gold tissue. The prelates indulged in all the ostentatious 
luxury of dress. Chaucer says , they had '^ chaunge of clothing eve- 
rie dale.'' Brantome records of Elizabeth, Que^ of Philip II. oC 
Spain , that she never wore a gown twice ; this was told him by her 
majesty's own taHleur, who fh)m a poor man soon became as rich 
as any one he knew. Our own Elizabeth left no less than three thou- 
sand different habits in her wardrobe when she died. She was poa- 
sessed of the dresses of all countries. 

The catholic religion has ever considered the pomp of the derical 
habit as not the slightest part of its re^gious ceremonies \ their devo- 
dbn is addressed to the eye of the people. In the reign of our catho- 
lic Queen Mary, the dress of a priest was costly indeed ^ and the 
sarcastic and good-humoured Fuller gives , in his Worthies, the will 
of a priest, to show the wardrobe of men of his order, and desires 
that the priest may not be jeered for the gallantry of Us ^lendid ap- 
pard. He bequeaths to various parish churches and persons, '^ My 
vestment of crimson satin — my vestment of crimson velvet — 
— my stole and fanon set with pearl — my bteck gown fietced with 
taffeta,'' etc. 

Chaucer has minutely detailed in "-' The Parsone's Tale " the gro- 
tesque «id the costly fashions of his day -, and the simi^city of the 
venerable satirist will interest ther antiquary and the philosopher. 
Much , and curiously, has his caustic severity or l^ient humour 
descanted on the " moche superfluitee," and " wast of cloth in va- 
nitee' as well as '' the disordinate scantnesse." In the spirit of the 
good oW times , he calculates " the coste of the embrowHng or em 


broMeilBg ; endentiDg or fmring ^ oundiDg or wayy *, paUng or imi- 
latiBf pales ^ and winding or bending ] the costtewe iUrring in the 
gbunes ^ so much ponmouing of ohead to maken hdea (that is ^ 
punched with a bodkin ); so rooche dagging of sheres (cutting hito 
slips); with the snperfluitee in length of the gounes trailing in the 
dongandin themyre,on tuHseandeke on fbot, as wel of man as 
of woman — that all thilke trailing,'' he terily betieyes, which 
wastes, consumes , wears ttireadbare , and is roUen with dung , are 
si lo the damage of ^^ the poor folk /' who might be clothed only 
out of ttie flounces and draggle-teils of these cfaiMren of yanity. But 
ten his Parson is not less bitter against '^ the horrible disordinat 
scantnesse of clothing/' and yery copiously he describes, ttiough 
pwfaaps in terms and ynth a humour too coarse for me to transcribe, 
the consequences of these yery tight dresses. Of these persons , 
among other offensiye matters , he sees ^' the buttokkes behind as 
if (hey were the hinder piu*t of a sheape in the ftil of the mone/' He 
notices one of the most grotesque modes , the wearing a parti-co- 
loured dress; one stocking part white and part red, so that they look- 
ed as if they had. been flayed. Or white and blue , or white and 
Mack , i3T Mack add red ; this yariety of colours gaye an appear- 
ance to their methbers of St. Anthony's fire , or cancer, or other 

The modes of dress during the thirteenth and fourteenth centu- 
ries irere so yarioos and ridiculous , that they afforded perpetual 
(bed for the eager satirist. 

The conquests of Edward III. introduced the French fashions 
inU> England ; and the Scotch adopted them by their alliance yrlth 
(he French court , and close intercourse yrith that nation. 

Wdsingham dates the introduction of French Oeishions among us 
finm the tidnng of Calais in 1347 *, but we appear to haye possessed 
soch a rage ftnr imitation in dress, (hat an English beau was actually 
a &ntastical compound of aH ttie fashions in Europe , and eyen Asia, 
m the reign of Elizabeth. In Chaucer's time the preyalence of French 
IMiions was a common topic with our satirist ; and he notices the 
affectation of our female citizens in speaking the French language, 
a sht>ke of satire yrtiich, after four centuries , is not obsc^ete , if ap- 
plied to flieir ftralty pronunciation. — In the prologue to the Prio- 
resse, Chaucer has these humorous lines. : — 

EatewiMd m her Toice fbU Memlj, 
And French fhe tpeke fall feteoiuly ; 
v4yier the ScoU of Stratford at Bowe , 
The French of Paris was to her anknowe. 

Kbeau of the reign of Henry IV. has been made out by the labo- 


rious Henry. They wore then long-pointed shoes to such an iinnio- 
derate length , that they could not vmlk till they were fastened to 
their knees with chains. Luxury improving on this ridiculous mode, 
these chains the English beau of the fourteenth century had made 
of gold and silver ^ but the grotesque fashion did not finish here, for 
the tops of their shoes were carved in the manner of a church window. 
The ladies of that period were not less fantastical. 

The wild variety of dresses worn in the reign of Henry YIII. is 
aHuded to in a print of a naked Englishman holding a piece of cloth 
hanging on his right arm, and a pair of shears in hb left hand. It 
was invented by Andrew Borde , a facetious wit of those days. The 
print bears the following inscription : 

I am an Englishmao , and naked I stand here , 
Mnsing in my mind , what rayment I shall were ^ 
For now I will were this, and now I will were that. 
And now I will were, what I cannot tell what. 

At a lower period, about the reign of Elizabeth, we are present- 
ed with a curious picture of a man of fashion by Puttenham, kUus 
'' Arte of Poetry," p. 250. This author was a travelled courtier^ and 
has interspersed his curious work with many lively anecdotes of the 
times. This is his fontastical beau in the reign of Elizabeth. ^^ May 
it not seeme enough for a courtier to know how to weare ajeather 
and set his cappe aflaunt ; his chain en echarpe-y a straight bus- 
hin , al Inglese^ a loose ^ la Turquesque ; the cape alia Spa- 
niola ; the breech h la Fran^aise , and by twenitie maner of new- 
fashioned garments, to disguise his body and his foce with as many 
countenances , whereof it seems there be many that make a very 
. arte and studie , who can shewe himselfte most fine , I will not say 
most foolish or ridiculous.'' So that a beau of those times wore in 
the same dress a grotesque mixture of all the fashions in the worid. 
About the same period the ton ran in a different course in France. 
There, fashion consisted in an affected negligence of dress; for 
Montaigne honesUy laments in Book i, Cap. 25. — '*^ I have never 
yet been apt to imitate the negligent garb which is yet observable 
among the young men of our time \ to wear my cloak on one 
shoulder y my bonnet on one side, and one stocking in something 
more disorder titan the other, meant to express a manly disdain 
of such exotic ornaments , and a contempt of art.'' 

The fashions of the Elizabethan age have been chronicled by ho- 
nest John Stowe. Slowe was originally a tailor, and when he laid 
down the shears , and took tip the pen , the taste and curiosity for 
dress was still retained. He is the grave chronicler of matters not 
grave. The chronology of ruffs , and tufted taffetas ; the revolution 


Of sted poldng-sticks, instead of bone or wood used by the laundress- 
^ ; the invasion of shoe buckles ^ and the total rout of shoe-roses ; 
UmC grand adventure of a certain Flemish lady, who introduced the 
art of starching the ruffe with a yellow tinge into Britain : while 
Mrs. Montague emulated her in the royal favour, by presenting her 
highness the queen with a pair of black silk stockings , instead of 
her cloth hose , which her majesty now for ever rejected ; the heroic 
achieveinents of the Rig^t Honourable Edward de Yere, Earl of 
Oxford , who first brought from Italy the whole mystery and craft 
of perftimery, and costly washes : and among other pleasant things 
besides , a perfumed Jerkin , a pair of perflimed gloves trimmed with 
rases , in which the queen took such delight , that she was actually 
pictured with those gloves on her royal hands , and for many years 
after ttie scent was caHed the Earl of Oxford's PerfUme. These , and 
occurrences as memorable , receive a pleasant kind of historical 
pomp in the important, and not incurious, narrative of the anti- 
quary and the tailor. The toilet of Elizabeth was indeed an altar of 
devotion^ of which she was the idol , and all her ministers were her 
votaries : it was the reign of coquetry, and the gdden age of milli- 
nery ! But of grace and degance they had not the slightest feeling I 
Th^ is a fHint by Yertue , of Que^ Elizabeth going in a proces- 
sion to Lord Hunsdon. Tins procession is led by Lady Uunsdon, who 
no doubt was the leader likewise of the fashion ; but it is impossi- 
ble , with our ideas of grace and comfort , not to commiserate this 
unfortunate lady, whose standing-up wire ruff , rising above her 
head -, whose stays, or bodice , so long waisted as to reach to her 
knees , and the circumference of her large hoop &rthingale , which 
seems to enclose her in a capacious tub, mark her out as one of the 
most pitiable martyrs of ancient modes. The amorous SAv Walter 
Raleigh must have found some of the maids of honour the most im- 
pregnable fortification his gallant spirit ever assailed : a coup de 
main was impossible. 

I shall transcribe from oW Slowe a few extracts, which may 
amuse the reader : — 

'* In the second yeere of Queen Elizabeth 1560 , her silke wo- 
man , Mistris Montage , presented her ms^^tie for a new yeere's 
gift , a poire of black knit silk stockings , the which , after a few 
days' wearing , pleased her highness so well , that she sent for Mis- 
tris Montague , and asked her where she had them , and if she could 
help her to any more , who answered , saying , ' I made them very 
carefully of purpose only for your ms^tie , and seeing these please 
you so well , I will presently set more in hand. ' Do so (quoth the 
queene) , for indeed I like silk stockings so well, because they 
are pleasant, fine and delicate^ that henceforth 1 will wear no 


maro cloth stockings'— and fh>iii that time unto her deafli the 
queene neter wore any more doth hose, fmt only sUke stocUngs; 
for you shall understand that King Henry the Ei^^t Ad weue 
onely doath hose , or hose cut out of elM>roade ttf aty, or that hy 
great chance there came a pair of Spanish silk stockings from 
Spain. King Edward the Sixt had a payre of long Spanish sUke 
stockings sent him for a great present.'^Jkike6* daughters then 
wore gownes of satten of Bridges (Bruges) upon solemn dayes. 
Cushens, and window pillows of wehret and damaske, formoiy 
only princely furniture , now be yery plenteous in most dtiiens' 

' ' Milloners or haberdashers had not then any gloi^es imbrofdep' 
ed, or trimmed with gold, or silke; neither gold nor imforoydered 
girdles and hangers, neither could they make €my cotdy wash or 
petfume, until about the fifteenth yeereof the queene , the Right 
Honourable Edward de Yere, Earl of Oxford, came from Italy, 
and brought with him gloves, sweele bagges, a perftimed leather 
Jerldn, and other pleasant things; and that yeere the queeoe bad 
a pair of perfumed gloves trimmed only with four tuffes , or roset 
of coloured silk. The queene tooke such pleasure in those glo?es, 
that she was pictured with those gloyes upon her handes , and for 
many years after it was called " The Earl of Oxford's perfume:' 

In such a chronology of fiishions , an ev^it not less important 
surely was the origin i^ starching ; and here we find it treated with 
the utmost historical dignity. 

^' In the year 1564 , Mistris Dinghen Van den Plasse, borne at 
Tenen in Flaunders, daughter to a worshipfiill knight of that 
proYinoe, with her husband , came to London for their better safe- 
ties , and fiiere profSessed herself a starcher, wherein she excelled , 
unto whom her owne nation presently repidred, and payed her 
very liberally for her worke. Some Tery few of the best and most 
curious wives of that time, obsenring the neatnesse and delicacy 
of the Dutch for whitenesse and fine wearing of linen, made 
them cambricke ruffs , and sent them to Mistris Dinghen to stardt , 
and after awhile they made them rwffes of lawn , which was at 
that time a stuff most strange , and wonderfuU , and theraq[X)n rose 
a general scoff e or by^word, that shortly they would make ng^ 
rfa spider's web; and then they began to send their daughters and 
nearest kinswomen to Mistris Dinghen to learn how to starche; 
her usuall price was at that time, foureor five pound, to teach them 
how to starch , and twenty shillings how to seeth starch:' 

Thus Italy, Holland , and France , supplied us with fariuons and 
refinements. But in those days they were , as I have shown fttmi 
Puttenham , as ejctravagant dressers as any of their present sap- 


poMi d^eoerate descendants. Slowe alTords us anoUier curious 
eifraet ''Divers noble penonases made them ruffes , ajmll quarter 
cfayeard deepe, and two lengthe in one ruffe. This fashion in 
Umdon was called the French fashion ^ irat when Englnhmen 
came to Paris y the French knew it not, and in derision called it 
Om English monster.'' An exact parallel ttiis of many of our own 
ftri»an modes in the present day. 

This was the golden period of cosmetics. The beaux of that day, 
it is evident , used the afoominaMe artof painting their faces as well 
» the women. Our <4d comedies abound with perpetual allusions to 
oOs, tinctures, quintessences, pomatums, perfumes, paint white 
and red, etc. One of their prime cosmetics was a frequent use of the 
btohy and the apfdication of wine. Strutt quotes from an old MS. 
aredpe to make the face of a beautiftil red colour. The person was 
to lie in a bath that he might perspire, and afterwards wash his face 
ifithwiBe,and ^' so shoukl be both ftdre and roddy.'' In Mr. Lodge's 
''lUustretions of British History," the Eari of Shrewsbury, who 
had the keeping of the unfortunate Queen of Scots , complains of 
the expenses of the queen for bathing in wine, and requires a 
teOier aHowanee. A learned Scotch professor informed me, that 
wAiewine was used for ttiese purposes. They also raadea bath of 
mm. Elder beauties bathed in wine , to get rid of their wrinkles ; 
aod perhaps not without reason , wine bdng a great astringent. Un- 
wriekled beauties bathed in milk, to preserve the softness and 
sleekness of the skin. Our venerable beauties of the Elizabethan age 
Here initiated ooqueftles ; and the mysteries of their toilette might 
k worth nnveiling. 

Thd reign of Charles II. was the dominion of French fashions. In 
some respects the taste was a litife lighter, but the moral effect of 
tes, and which no doubt it has, was much worse. The dress of 
ov Freoch queen was very inflammatory; and the nudity of the 
tomties of the portrait-painter, Sir Peter Lely, has been obso^ed. 
Tbe queen of Charles U. exposed her breast and shoulders without 
even the glass cf the lightest gauze; and the tucker, instead of 
staading up on h^ bosom , is with licentious boldness turned down, 
ai iies upon her stays. This custom of baring the bosom was much 
ciiMmed against by the authors of that age. That honest divine , 
Richard Baxter, wrote a preflM^e lo a book , entitled *' A just and 
wasonable reprehension of naked breasts and sh<Mlders.''' In 
l^2afaook was published, entitled, '^ New ipstructiotts unto youth 
for their behaviour, and also a discourse upon some innovatfons of 
taWte and dressing; against powdering of hair, naked breasts, 
black spots (or patches ) , and other unseemly customs.'' A whim- 
stel IMikKi now prevafled among the ladies , of strangely omamenir 


ing their faces with abundance of black patches cut into grotesque 
forms, such as a coach and horses, owte, rings, suns, moons, 
crowns , cross and crosslets. The author has prefixed two ladies' 
heads; the one representing Firuie, aqd the other Vice. Virtue 
is a lady modestly habited, with a black velvet hood, and a plain 
white kerchief on her neck , with a border. Vice wears no hand- 
kerchief; her stays cut low, so that they display great part of the 
breasts \ and a variety of fanstastical patches on her face. 

The innovations of fashions in the reign of Charles II. were 
watched with a jealous eye by the remains of those strict puritans , 
who now could only pour out their bile in such solenm admoni" 
tions. They affected all possible plainness and sanctity. When 
courtiers wore monstrous wigs, they cut their hair short; when they 
adopted hats with broad plumes, they clapped on round black caps, 
and screwed up their pale religious fhces ; and when shoe-buckles 
were revived, they wore strings. The sublime MUlon , perhaps, 
exulted in his intrepidity of still wearing latchets! The Tatter ridi- 
cules Sir William Whitlocke for his singularity in still affecting 
them. " Thou dear Will Shoestring , how shall I draw thee? Thou 
dear outside, will you be combing your wig ^ playing with your 
box, or picking your teeth, etc." Wigs and snuff'-boxes were 
then the rage. Steele's own wig, it is recorded, made at one time a 
considerable part of his annual expenditure. His large black peri- 
wig cost him , even at that day, no less than forty guineas ! — ^We 
wear nothing at present in this degree of extravagance. But such a 
wig was the idol of fashion , and they were performing perpetually 
their worship with infinite self-complacency; combiog their wigs 
in public was then the very spirit of, gallaniry and rank. The hero 
of Richardson, youthful and elegant as he wished him to be, is 
represented waiting at an assignation and describing his sufferings 
in bad weather by lamenting that ^'his wig and his linen were 
dripping with the hoar iVost dissolving on them.'' £veo Betty, 
Clarissa's lady's maid, is described as '* tapping on her snuff-box, ^'^ 
and frequently taking snuff. At this time nothing t^as so nAonstrous 
as the head-dresses of the ladies in Queen Anne's reign : they 
formed a kind of edifice of three stories high ; and a fashionable 
lady of that day nmch resembles the mythological figure of Cybele , 
the mother of the gods, with three towers on her head. • 

It is not worth noticing the changes in fashion , unless to ridicule 
them. However, there are some who find amusement in these re- 
cords of luxurious idleness ; these thousand and one follies ! Modern 
fashions , till very lately a purer taste has obtained among our fe- 
males , were generally mere copies of obsolete ones , and rarely 
origmally fantastical. The dress of some of our beaux will only be 


known in a few years hence by their caricatures. In 1751 the dress 
of a dandy is described in the Inspector. A black Telvel coat, a 
p-een and silver waistcoat ,^eZ/otv velvet breeches , and blue stock- 
ings. This too was the ffira of bltick silk breeches j an extraordi- 
nary novelty, against whicli ^' some frowsy people attempted to raise 
op worsted in emulation.'' A satirical writer has described a buck 
about Torty years ago; one could hardly have suspected such a 
gentleman to have been one of our contemporaries. ^^ A coat of light 
green , with sleeves too small for the arms , and buttons too big for 
the sleeves -, a pair of Manchester fine stuff breeches , without money 
in (he pockets ; clouded silk stockings , but no legs ; a club of hair 
behind larger than the head that carries it ; a hat of the size of 
si]q)ence on a Uock not worth a farthing.'' 

As this article may probably arrest the volatile eyes of my foir 
readers , let me be permitted to felicitate them on their improvement 
in elegance in the forms of their dress -, and the taste and knowledge 
of art which fhey fl^equently exhibit. But let me remind them that 
there are univereal principles of beauty in dress independent of all 
fashions. Tacitus remarks of Poppea , the consort of Nero , that she 
concealed a part of her face -^ to the end that, the imagination 
having fuller play by irritating curiosity, they might think higher 
of her beauty than if ^e whole of her f^e had been exposed. The 
sentiment is beaufifully expressed by Tasso, and it wMl not be 
difficall to reniember it : — 

** ICcn €<ypre sae bellezM, e non Teqiote.*' 

I conclude by a poem , written in my youth, not only because 
the late Sir Walter Scott once repeated some of the lines , from 
memory, to remind me of it, and has preserved it in ^^ The English 
Minstrelsy," but also as a memorial of some fashions which have 
become extinct in my own days. 



Ab, Laura ! ^puk the noiiy town, 
Aad Fashioh*s persecuting reign : 
, Health wanders on the breezy down , 
And Science on the silent plain. 

How long from Art*8 refiected hues 

Shalt thon a mimic charm reoeWe ? 
BelieTe , my fair ! the faithful muse , 

They spoil the bloah they cannot give, 
f. 13 


Ifoal niKbl0M «it , with torlnoiu ftetl , 

Tbj artl^s locks of gold defaoA y 
In terpent folds their charms conceal , 

And spoil, at erery touch, a graoe. 

Too sweet thy jonth*s enchanting bloom 

To waste on midnight's sordid crews : 
Let wrinkled age the night consame : 

For age hat hot k$ hoarda to loat . 

Sacred to lore and sweet repose, 

lehdd that tre1lis*4 bower is nigh! 
That bower the rtrdant walk enclose , 

3afe from punnivg Scandal's eye 

There, at in erery lock of gold 

Some flower of pleasing hne I waare , 
A goddeas ahall the vau^ behold. 

And many a Totiye sigh shall heare. 

So the nide IWlar's holy rile 

A feeble MomTAj:. opce arrayed ; 
Then trembled in the mortal's sight, 

And own'd Dirnm the power he kadb '. 


In a teok entitled '' Interto et Miudmes des Princes el des EMs 
Soifverai&s, par M. le doc de Rohan; Cologne, 1666/' an aaecdole 
is recorded concerning the Jesuits , which neittier Puffeodorf nor 
Yertot has noticed in his history. 

When Sigismond, king of Sweden , was elected king of Pc^nd , 
he made a treaty with the states of Sweden , by which he obliged 
himself to pass every fifth year in that kingdom. By his wars with 
the Ottoman court, with Muscovy, and Tartary, compelled to romain 
in Poland to encounter these powerful enemies, during fifteen years 
he failed in accomplishing his promise. To remedy this in some 
shape, by the advice of (he Jesuits , who had gained an ascendancy 
over him, he created a senate to reside at Stockholm, composed of 
forty chosen Jesuits. He presented them with letters-patent , and 
invested them with the royal authority. 

While this senate of Jesuits was at Dantzic^ waiting for a fair wind 
to set sail for Stockholm , he published an edict, that the Swedes 
should receive them as his own royal person. A public council was 
immediately held. Charles, the uncle of Sigismond, the prelates, and 
the lords , resolved to prepare for them a splendid and magnificent 

' The Lama , or God of the Tartars , is composed of such frail maierialt 
as mere mortality; contriTed , howerer, by the power of pritstcnilty to 
appear immortal; the succession of Lamas nerer failing! 


But in a pritate eouocil , tb^ eaoie to ywY oontxary resolutioas : 
f<jr Ihe prince said, he could not bear that a senate of priests should 
conffiand, in preference to all the honours and authority of so many 
pnoees and lords , natives of the country. All the others agreed 
with him in rejecting this hdy senate. The archbishc^ rose, and 
said, ^^ Since Sigismond has disdained to be our king, we ateo must 
not acknowledge him as such ^ and from this moment we should no 
kttger consider ourselves as his subjects. His authority is in suspense , 
because he has bestowed it on the Jesuits who form this senate. The 
people have not yet acknowledged them. In this interval of resigna- 
tieaon the one side, and assumption on the other, I absolve you all 
of the fidelity the king may daim from you as is Swedish subjects." 
The pruice of Bithynia addressing himsdf to Prince Charles, ancle 
of the king, ^^ I own no other king than you \ and I believe yoa are 
now obliged to receive us as your affectionate snbjeots, and to assist 
Of to himt tlMse vermin from the state.'' All ttie others joined him 
and adonowledged Charles as their lawiW monarch. 

Having resolved to keep their declaration for some time secret , 
they deliberated in what manner they woe to recdve and to precede 
this senate in their entry into the haifxxir, who were now on board 
a great gaUeoo , which bad anchored two teagues from Stockholm , 
that Ifaey might eater more nagnifieentiy in the night , when the 
ife-w<wk5 they had prepared would appear to the ^ppeatest advantage. 
About Hie time of thdr reception. Prince Charles, accompanied by 
twentj-fiveiar thirty vessels, appeared before this senate. Wheeling 
about and fonnii^ a caracol of ships, they ^charged a volley, and 
anptied all their cannon on the galleon bearing this senate , which 
bad its sides piereed through witii the baUs. The galleon inmiediate- 
ly filled vnth water and sunk, without one of the unfortunate 
Jesmts being assisted; on the contrary, their assailants cried to them 
ttiat ttiis was the time to perform some mirade, such as they were 
aecuBtoflied to do in India and Japan*, and if they chose, ttiey could 
walkootfie walers! 

The report of the cannon , and the smoke which the powder 
occasioned, prevented either the cries or the submersion of the holy 
Mhevs frHMBd being observed : and as if they were conducting the 
seaate to the town , Charles entered triumphanUy ; went into the 
chnrch, where they sung Te Deum-, and to conclude the night, he 
partook of the entertainment which had been prepared for this ill- 
fated senate. 

The Jesuits of the city of Stockholm having come, about midnight, 
to pay thdr respects to the Fathers , perceived ttieir loss. They 
directly posted up placards of excommunication against Charles and 
his adherents, who had caused the senate of Jesuits to perish.^ They 


urged the people to rebel; but they were soon expelled the city, and 
Charles made a public profession of Lutheranism. 

Sigismond, king of Poland , began a war with Charles in 1604 , 
which lasted two years. Disturbed by the invasions of the Tartars , 
the Muscovites, and the Cossacks, a truce was concluded ; but Sigis- 
mond lost both his crowns, by his bigoted attiichment to Roman 


The following tale, recorded in the Historical Memoirs of Cham- 
pagne , by Bougier, has been a favourite narrative with the old 
romance writers; and the principal incident, however objectionable, 
has bieen displayed in several modern poems. 

Howel, in his ^^ Familiar Letters,'' in one addressed to Ben Jonson, 
recommends it to him as a subject '^ which peradventure you may 
make use of in your way;'' and concludes by saying, '^ in my opinion, 
which vails to yours, this is choice and rich stuff for you to put upon 
your loom, and make a curious web of." 

The Lord de Coucy, vassal to the Count de Champagne, was one 
of the most accomplished youths of his time. He loved , with an 
excess of passion, the lady of the Lord du Fayel, who felt a reciprocal 
aCTection. With the most poignant grief this lady heard firom her 
lover , that he had resolved to accompany the king and the Count 
de Champagne to the wars of the Holy Land ,* but she would not 
oppose his wishes, because she hoped that his absence might 
dissipate the jealousy of her husband. The time of departure having 
come, these two lovers parted with sorrows of the most Hvely ten- 
derness. The lady, in quitting her lover, presented him with some 
rings, some diamonds, and with a string that she had woven herself 
of his own hair, intermixed with silk and buttons of large pearls, to 
serve him, according to the fashion of those days, to tie a magnificent 
hood which covered his helmet. This he gratefully accepted. 

In Palestine, at the siege of Acre, in 1 191 , in gloriously ascending 
the ramparts, he received a wound, which was declared mortal. He 
employed the few moments he had to live in writing to the Lady du 
Fayel; and he poured forth the fervour of his soul. He ordered his 
squire to embalm his heart after his death , and to convey it to his 
beloved mistress, with the presents he had received from her hands 
in quitting her. 

The squire, faithful to the dying injunction of his master, returned 
to France, to present the heart and the gifts to the lady of du Fayel. 
But when he approached the castle of this lady , he concealed 
himself in the neighbouring wood, watching some favourable mo- 


meol to complete his promise. He had the misfortune to be obserx(id 
bj the husband of this lady , who recognised him, and who irame- 
dialeJy suspected he came in search of his wife with some message 
from his master. He threatened to deprive him of his life if he did 
not divulge the occasion of his return. The squire assured him that 
his master was dead; but Du Fayel not believing it, drew his sword 
(10 him. This man, frightened at the peril in which he found himself, 
confessed every thing; and put into his hands the heart apd letter of 
his master. Du Fayel was maddened by the feltest passions, and ho 
took a wild and horrid revenge. He ordered his cook to mince the 
heart; and having mixed it with meat , he caused a favourite ragout, 
which he knew pleased the taste of his wife , and had it served to 
her. The lady ate hewtily of the dish. After the repast, Du Fayel in- 
quired of his wife if shS had found the ragout according to her taste : 
she answered him that she had found it excellent. '^ It is for this 
reason that I caused it to be served to you , for it is a kind of meat 
.which you very much liked. You have, Madpm," the savage Du 
Fayel continued, ^' eaten the heart of the Lord de Coucy .'' But this 
the lady would not believe, till he showed her the letter of her lover, 
with the string of his hair , and the diamonds she had given him. 
Shuddering in the anguish of her sensations, and urged by the 
utmost despair , she told him — ^' It is true that I loved that heart , 
because it merited to be loved : for never could it find its superior ; 
and since I have eaten of so noble a meat , and that my stomach is 
the tomb of so precious a heart, I will take care that nothing of 
inferior worth shall ever be mixed with it.'' Grief and passion choked 
her utterance. She retired to her chamber : she closed the door for 
ever; and refusing to accept of consolation or food , the amiable 
viclim expired on the fourth day. 


The present learned and curious dissertation is compiled from 
the papers of an ingenious antiquary, from the ^^ Present State of 
the Republic of Letters. " Vol. X. p. 289. 

The antiquity of this part of dress will form our first inquiry ; 
and we shall then show its various uses in the several ages of the 

It has been imagined that gloves are noticed in the 108th Psalm , 
where the royal prophet declares, he will cast his shoe over Edom ; 
and still farther back , supposing them to be used in the times of 
the Judges , Ruth iv. 7, where the custom is noticed of a man taking 
off his shoe and giving it to his neighbour, as a pledge for redeem- 
ing or exchanging any thing. The word in these two texts,, usually 


translated shoe by the Ghaldee paraphrast , io the latter is rendered 
glo%^. Casaubon is of opinion that glo\^s were worn by the Chal- 
deans , from the word here mentioned being explained in the 
Talmud Lexicon, the clothing of the hand^ 

Xenophon gives a clear and distinct accoont of gloves. Spealdng 
of the manners of the Persians, as a proof of their effeminacy, he 
observes , that , not satisfied witti covering their head and their 
feet , they also guarded their hands against the ixkA with tluck 
gloves. Horner^ describing Laertes at work in his garden , repre* 
sents him with gloves on his hands y to secure them from the 
thorns. Varro, an ancient writer, is an evidence in favour of 
their antiquity among the Romans. In lib. 11. cap. 55. De Re 
Rusticd^he says, that olives gathered by th%j|aked hand are prefe- 
rable to those gathered with gloves. Athenceus speaks of a cele- 
brated glutton who always came to table with gloves on his hands, 
that ho might be abfe to handle and eat the meat whUe hot, and 
devour more than the rest of the company. 

The authorities show that the ancients were not strangers to the 
use of gloves, though thehr use was not conunon. In a hot chnmie 
to wear gloves nnplies a considerable degree of effeminacy. We can 
more clearly trace the early use of gloves in northern than in 
southern nations. When the ancient severity of manners declined, 
the use of gloves prevailed among the Romans^ but not 'without 
some opposition from the philosophers. Musoruus, a philosopher, 
who lived at the close of die fffst century of Christianity, among 
other invectives against the corruption of the age , says , It is 
shameful that persons in perfect health should clodw their 
hands and feet with soft and hairy coverings. Their conve- 
nience, however, soon made the use general. Pliny the younger 
Informs us , in his account of his uncle]^ journey to Vesuvius , that 
his secretary sat by him ready to wrtte down whatever occurred re- 
markable*, and that he had gloves on his hands, that the coldness 
of the weather might not impede his business. 

In the beginning of the ninth century, the use of gloves was 
become so universal , that even the church thought a regulation in 
that part of dress necessary. In the reign of Louis le Debojiaire, 
the council of Aix ordered that the monks should only wear gloves 
made of sheep-skin. 

That time has made alterations in the form of this, as in all 
other apparel , appears fh>m the old pfetures^and OFioimments. 

Gloves, beside their original design for a covering of the hand , 
hav^ been employed on several great and solemn occasiohs ; as in 
the ceremony •of investitures, in bestowing lands , or in conferring 
dignities. Giving possession by the delivery of a glove, prevailed 

Tte imTORlr OF GLOVES. 199 

in sereral parts ofChrfeteiiMii lA M«r ngm. Ift theyear lOOS, the 
Mshops of Paderf)ofii and Moeo^roi^ were pHI into poMeffiion ot 
thm sees by receiviog a gloi^e. It wM iHNigbt so eMeattal a part 
cT Oie episcopal kabil , ttut some attets in Erance prettutning to 
iv«ar glwes, tHe ooueil of PDttkiB ialerpoacd in tlie affair^ and 
fo»baclflientlieii6e,on the same piincipto as Ibct ring snd sandals; 
Ih^e being peenUar to Hshops , ivho freqpietiflr wore emn rieUy 
adoinedwiHi Jewels. 

Fayin observes , that the custon of btessing ghves at. the coro- 
nation df the idngs of Franee, whidb still subsists, is a remain of 
the eartern practk^ df iBteslitnre by a er^e. A remarlLaUe instance 
of this ceimoay ift recorded. The unfortunate Conradin was 
d^Mired of his crown and his Ufo by the usurper ilfa<i;/h^ When 
having ascended the scaffold , the injtn^ prince lamenting his 
hard Ihie^assertedhis right to the crowd 9 ahd, as a token of inves- 
titure, threw his gloi^e among the crowd, intreating it might be 
conveyed to some of his relations, who would revenge his death. It 
was taken up by a knight , and brought to Peter, king of Aragon , 
wba io virtue of this glove vras afterwards crowned at Palermo. 

As the delivery of glomes was once a part cS the ceremony used 
in giving possession , so the depriving a person of them was a mark 
of divesting him of his office , and of degradation. The Earl of 
Carlisle,' in the reign of Edward.the Second , impeached of holding 
a correqK>ndence vrith the Seote , was condemned to die as a traitor. 
Walsittgham , relating other cireumsl«nces of his degradation , 
says , ^' His spurs v^ere cn4 off witti a hatchet, and his gloi^es and 
shoes were taken off, " etc. 

Another use of gloves was in a duel^ he who threw one down 
was by this act understood to give jdefiance y and he who took it up 
Io accqiH the chaU^age. 

The use of single combat, al first designed only for a trial of 
innocence , like the ordeals of fire and water, was in succeeding 
ages practised for deciding rights and property. Challenging by the 
g/6ve was continued dovm to the reign of Elizabeth, as appears by 
an account given by Spelman of a duel appointed to be fought in 
Tothill Fiekls , in the year 1571. The dispute was concerning some 
lands in the county of Kent. The plaintiffs appeared in court , and 
demanded single combat. One of them threw down his glove, which 
the other, immediately (aking up , carred off on the point of his 
sword , and the day of fighting was appointed -, this affair was 
however adjusted by (he queen's Judicious interference. 

The ceremony is till practised of challenging by a glove at the 
coronation of the kings of England , by his majesty's champion 
entering Westminster Hall completely armed and mounted. 


ChaUenging fay tlie glwe is still in use in some parts of the world. 
In Germany, on receiving an affront, to send a gloi^e to the 
offending party is a chaUenge to a duel. 

The last use of gloi^es was for carrying the hawk. In former 
times , princes and other great men took so much pleasure in carry- 
ing the hawk on their hand , that some of them have chosen to be 
represented in this attitude. There is a monument of Philip Ibe 
First of France, on which he is represented at length, on his 
tomb , holding a ghi^e in his hand. 

Chambers says that , formerly, judges were forbid to wear 
glomes on the bench. No reason is assigned for this prohibition. 
Our judges lie under no such restraint ; for bolh they and the rest 
of the court make no difficulty of receiving gloues from the sherifb, 
whenever the session or assize concludes without any one receiving 
sentence of death, which is called a maiden assize ,• a custom of 
great antiquity. 

Our curious antiquary has preserved a singular anecdote concern- 
ing gloves. Chambers informs us , that it is not safe at present to 
enter the stables of princes without pulling off our glo\f^. He does 
not tell us in what the danger consists*, but it is an ancient esta- 
blished custom in Germany, that whoever enters the stables of a 
prince , or great man , with his gloves on his hands , is obliged to 
forfeit them, or redeem them by .a fee to the servants. The same 
custom is observed in some places at the death of the stag \ in 
which case if the gloves sare not taken off, they are redeemed by 
money given to the huntsmen and keepers. The French king never 
failed of pulling off one of his gloves on that occasion- The reason 
of this ceremony seems to be lost. 

We meet with the term glove-money in our old records \ by 
which is meant, money given to servants to buy gloves. This pro- 
bably is the origin of the phrase giving a pair of gloves y to signify 
making a present for some favour or service. 

Gough in his "Sepulchral Monuments" informs us that gloves 
formed no part of the female dress till after the Reformation. I have 
seen some so late as in Anne's time richly worked and embroidered. 

There must exist in the Denny family some of the oldest gloves 
extant , as appears by the following glove anecdote. 

At the sale of the Earl of Arran's goods , April 6th, 1759, the 
gloves given by Henry VIII. to Sir Anthony Denny were sold for 
38/. 175 •, those given by James I. to his son Edward Denny for 
%^L As. \ the mittens given by Queen Elizabeth to Sir Edward 
Denny's lady, 26/, 4^. ; all which were bought for Sir Thomas 
Denny of Ireland , who was descended in a direct line from the 


greal ir Anttiony Denny , one of the execulors of the will of 
Henry VIII. 


When relics of saints were first introduced , the relique-mania 
was universal; they bought and they sold, and, hke other coUec- 
tors, made no scruple to steal them. It is entertaining to observe 
the singular ardour and grasping avidity of some, to enrich them- 
selres with these religious morsels; their little discernment, the 
curious impositions of the vender, and the good faith and sincerity 
of Oie purchaser. The prelate of the place somelunes ordained a 
lasl to implore God that they might not be cheated with the relics^ 
ofsainis, which he sometimes purchased for the holy benefit of the 
Tillage or town. 

Guibert de Nogent wrote a treatise on the relics of saints ; ac- 
knowledging that there were many false ones, as well as false legends,, 
he reprobates the inventors of these lying miracles. He wrote his 
Irealise on (he occasion of a tooth of our Lord's , by which the 
monks of St. M6dard de Soissons pretended to operate miracles. He 
asserts Uial this pretension is as chimerical as that of several persons, 
iho believed they possessed the navel, and other parts less decent, 
of--the body of Christ! 

A monk of Bergsvinck has given a history of the translation of 
SL Lewin , a virgin and a martyr : her relics were brought from 
England to Bergs. He collected with religious care the facts from 
his brethren, especially from the conductor of these relics from Eng- 
land. After the history of the translation , and a panegyric of the 
saint, he relates the miracles performed in Flanders since the arrival 
of her relics. The prevailing passion of the times to possess fragments 
of saints is well marked , when the author particularises with a cer- 
tain conaplacency all the knavish modes they used to carry off those 
hi question. None then objected to this sort of robbery \ because the 
gratification of the reigning passion had made it worth while to 
supply the demand. 

A monk of Quny has given a history of the translation of the 
hody of St. Indalece, one of the earliest Spanish bishops, written 
hy order of the abbot of St. Juan de la Penna. He protests he ad- 
vances nothing but facts : having himself seen , or learnt from other 
^iUiesses, all he relates. It was not difficult for him to be well 
jmonned, since it was to the monastery of St. Juan de la Penna 
m the holy reUcs were transported, and those who brought them 
jere two monks of that house. He has authenticated his minuto 
oetail of circumstances by giving the names of persons and places. 


His accoant was writteii for the great festival immediat^y iftUtulei 
in honour of this translation. He informs us of the miracnious man- 
ner by which they were so fortunate as to discover the body of Ihis 
bishop, and the different plans they concerted to* carry it off. He 
gives the itinerary of the two monies who accompafted the boly 
I'emains. They were not a little cheer^ in their long journey by 
visions dnd miracles. 

Another has written a history of what he caib the transhtton of 
the relics of St. Mjjean to the monastery of Villemagne. Transla- 
tion is in fact only 9 softened expression (br the robbery of the reKcs 
of the saint committed by two monks , who carried them off secrelly 
to enrich their monastery ^ and they did not hesitate at any artiflce or 
lie to complete their design. They thought every thing was pennlUed 
to acquire these IVagments of mortality, which had now become a 
branch of commerce. They even regarded their possessors witti an 
hostUe eye. Such was the religious opinion flrom the ninth (0 the 
twelfth century. Our Canute commissioned his agent at Rome \o 
purchase «$<. Augustine's arm for one hundred talents of silver and 
one of gold ] a much greater sum , observes Granger, than the finest 
statue of antiquity would have then sold for. 

Another monk describes a strange act of devotion attested by 
several contemporary writers. When the saints did not readily com- 
ply with the prayers of their votaries , they flogged their rehcs witb 
rods, in a spirit of impatience which they conceived was necessary 
to make them bend into compliance. 

Theofroy, abbot of Eptemac , to raise our admiration, relates 
the daily miracles performed by the relics of saints, tiieh* ashes, 
their clothes, or ottier mortal spoils , and even by the instruments 
of their martyrdom. He inveighs against that luxury of ornaments 
which was indulged under a religious pretext : '^ It is not to be sup- 
posed that the saints are desirous of such a profusion of gold and 
silver. They care not that we should raise to them such magnificent 
churches , to exhibit that ingenious order of pillars which shine with 
gold, nor those rich ceilihgs , nor (bose altars sparkling with Jewels. 
They desire not ttie purple parchment of price for their wrilmgs , 
the liquid gold to embellish the letters , nor the precious stones to 
decorate their covers , while you have such little care for the mi- 
nisters of the altar." The pious writer has not forgotten himself^ 
this copartnership with the saints. 

The Roman church not being able to deny, says Bayle , that there 
have been fleilse reUcs , which have operated miracles , they reply 
that the good intentions of those believers who have recourse to 
them obtained from God this reward for their good faith ! In the 
same spirit, when it was shown that two or three bodies of the 


samsatet mre said lo exist in diflterent places, and that therefore 
tbej ifl cooM not be aotbenltc, ft wm answered tbat ttieT were aU 
gennine ^ for God bad nniltiplied and miraeelously reproduced ttem 
lor (be contort of the faKhful ! A curioi» speeimen 6t the intole- 
ranee of good sense. 

When the Reformation was spread in Lithnanla, Prince Radriyil 
was so affected by it, that he went in person to pay the pope M 
possible honours. His boUness on this oecasion presented him with 
a precfote bot of reMes. The prince having returned home , some 
monks entreated pn^mission to try the effects of these relics on a 
demoniae, who had hitherto resisted every kind of exorcism. Tliey 
were IntHight into Ae chnrch with solemn pomp, anddeposited on (he 
attar, aecompMiied by an innum^rdUe crowd. After the usual con- 
jurations , which were unsoceessfhl , they applied the relies. The 
demoniac kislantly recovered. The people called out '' a miracle f' 
and fbQ prince, H^ng his hands and eyes to heaven , felt his fkith 
contemed. In thi& transport of pious joy, he observed that a young 
gentieonn , who was keq[>er of this treasure of relics , smiled , and 
by Ikis motions ridiculed the miracle. The prince indignantly took 
ouryoungl^eper of the rencs to task; who, on promise of pardon, . 
gave the foDowbig secret intelligence concerning them. In travel- 
lifig fitmi Rome be bad lost the box of relics ; and not darkig to 
Bm^on it , he had procured a similar one , which he had filled 
wifh the small bones of dogs and cats, and other trifies simflar to 
what were lost He hoped he might be forgiven for smiling , when 
he feond that such a ooflection of rabbish was idolised with such 
pomp, amd had even the virtue of expelling demons. It was by the 
asBialance of ^is boi that the prince discovered the gross impo- 
sitions of the monks and the demoniacs , and Radzivil afterwards 
became a zealous Lutheran. 

The elector Frederic , sumamed the Wise , was an indethUgable 
GoDeclor of relics. After his death, one of the monks employed by 
him sc^cited payment for several parcels he had purchased for our 
wise elector^ but the times had changed! He was advised to give 
<yfer this bosiness; the reUcs for which he desired payment they 
were willing to return'^ that the price had fallen c(msiderably since 
the r^brmation of Luther -, and that they wonld find a betJier mar- 
ket in Italy than in Germany! 

Our Henry ill. , who was deeply tainted With the supeistition of 
the age , summoned all the great in the kingdom to me^ in Lon- 
don. Tlds summons exdted the most general curiosity, and multi- 
tudes appeared. The king then acquainted them that the gr^ master 
of the Knights Templars had sent him a phial containing a small 
portion of i/ie precious blood of Christ which he had shed upon 


the cross; and attested to be gemdne by the seals of the patriarch 
of Jerusalem and others ! He commanded a procession the foUowing 
day \ and the historian adds , that though the road between St. Paul's 
and Westminster Abbey was very deep and miry, the king kept bis 
eyes constantly fixed on the phial. Two monks received it, and 
deposited the phial in the abbey, ^' which made all England shine 
with glory, dedicating it to God and St. Edward.'' 

Lord Herbert, in his Life of Henry VIII. , notices the great fall 
of the price of relics at the dissolution of the monasteries. " The 
respect given to relics, and some pretended miracles, fell; in- | 
somuch, as I find by our records , that a piece of St. Andrew's 
finger (covered only with an ounce of silver ) , being laid to pledge 
by a monastery for forty pounds, was left unredeemed at the dis- 
solution of the house.; the king's commissioners, who upon sur- 
render of any foundation undertook to pay the debts, refusing to 
return the price again.'' That is, they did not choose to repay the 
fortf pounds , to receive a piece of the finger of St. Andrew. 

About this time the property of reUcs suddenly sunk to a South- 
sea bubble; for shortly after the artifice of the Rood of Grace, al 
Boxley in Kent , was fully opened to the eye of the populace ; and a 
far-famed relic at Hales in Gloucestershire , of the blood of Christ, 
was at the same time exhibited. It was shown in a phial , and it was 
believed that none could see it who were in mortal sin ; and after 
many trials usually repeated to the same person, the deluded pilgrims 
t at length went away fully satisfied. This relic was the blood of a 
ducky renewed every week , and put in a phial ; one side was opa- 
que, and the other transparent; the monk turned either side lo 
the pilgrim, as he thought proper. The success of the pilgrim de- 
'• pended on the oblations he made ; those who were scanty in their 
< offerings were the longest to get a sight of the blood : when a man 
was in despair, he usually became generous ! 


No. 379 of the Spectator relates an anecdote of a person who had 
opened the sepulchre of the flamous Rosicrusius. He discovered a 
lamp burning , which a statue of clock-work struck into pieces. 
Hence the disciples of this visionary said that he made use of this 
method to show " that he had re-invented the everburning lamps of 
the ancients." 

Many writers have made mention of these wonderAil lamps. 

It has happened frequently that inquisitive men examining with 
a flambeau ancient sepulchres which had been just opened, the fat 
and gross vapours kindled as the flambeau approached them , to the 


grttt astonishment of the speclalors , who frequently cried out '' a 
mirade! '' This sudden inflammation , although yery natural , has 
gireo room to believe that these flames proceeded from perpetual 
lamps, which some have thought were placed in the tombs of the 
aocieols , and which , they said , were extinguished at the moment 
ibat these tombs opened , and were penetrated by the exterior air. 

The accounts of the perpetual lamps which ancient writers give 
have occasioned several ingenious men to search after their compo- 
sitioD. Licetus , who possessed more erudition than love of truth, 
has given two receipts for making this eternal fire by a preparation 
of eertain mUierals. More credible writers mahitain , that it is pos- . 
sible to make lamps perpetually burning , and an oil at once in- 
flaoimabte and inconsumable; but Boyle, assisted by several 
eiperiinents made on the air-pump, found that these lights, which 
tiave been viewed in opening tombs , proceeded from the collision 
of fresh air. This reasonable obs^vatlon conciliates aU , and does 
not Gompel us to deny the accounts. 

The story of the lamp of Rosicrusius, even if it ever had the 
sligbftestfiDandation, only owes its origin to the spirit of party, 
which at flie time would have persuaded the world that Rosicrusius 
had al least discovered something. 

II was reserved for modern discoveries in chemistry to prove that 
air was not only necessary for a medium to the existence of the 
flame, which indeed the air-pump had already shown ; but also as a 
coDstltoent part of the inflammation , and without which a body , 
otherwise very inflammable in all its paris , cannot , however, bum 
hat in its superficies , which alone is in Contact with the ambient air. 


SoHB Stones are preserved by the curious, for representing 
distinctly figures traced by nature alone , and without the aid of art. 

Pliny mentions an agate , in which appeared , formed by the hand 
of nature, ApoUo amidst the Nine Muses holding a harp. At Venice 
another may be seen , in which is naturally formed the perfect fi- 
pre of a man. At Pisa , in the church of St. John , there is a similar 
natural production , which reiHresents an old hermit in a desert, seat- 
ed by the side of a stream, and who holds in his hands a small bell , 
as St. Antony is commonly painted. In the temple of St. Sophia, at 
Constantinople, there was formerly on a white marble the image of 
St. John the Baptist covered with the skin of a camel ^ with this 
only imperfection , that nature had given but one leg. At Ravenna, 
in the church of St. Vital , a cordelier is seen on a dusky stone. They 


found in I^y a marUe, in whicba cradfix was so eiafkonto^ 
finished , that there appeared the nails > the drops of blood , and the 
-wounds , as perfectly as the most excellent painter could have per- 
ibrmed. At Sneilberg , in Germany, they found in a mine a eeriiiB 
rough metal, on which was seen the figure of a man, who carrieda 
child on his back. In Provence Ihey fouod in a mine a quaali^ of 
natural figures of birds , trees, rats , and serpetts \ and in some pla- 
ces of the western parts of Tartary, are seen on (Uvers rooks the fi* 
guresof c^els, horses, and sheep. Paneiiellus, in UsLestAnti- 
ijpiities, attests, that in a church at Rome, a marble perCdotty repre- 
sented a priest celebrating mass , and raifling the host. Paul III. 
conceiving that art had been used, scraped the marUe io discover 
whether apy painting bad been employed : bul nothing of fiie kind 
was discovered. ^^ I have seen,'' vmtes a Mend, "^^many of fiieee 
curiosities. They are €Um^s helped out by art. In my fother's 
house was a gray marble ehoiuiey-'pieGe , wUeh abounded in por* 
trails , landscapes , etc. , the greatest pari of which was made hj 
nfiyself. '' I have myself seen a large coUeclmif many certainly 
untouched by art. One stone appeals like a perfKt cameo of a Mi- 
nerva's head ; another shows an old man's head, beauftiM as if the 
hand of Raphael had designed it. Both these stones are transparent 
SoDie exhibit portraits. 

There is preserved in tbe British Museum a Hack stone, on which 
nature has sketched a resemblance of the portrait of Ghaucer» Stones 
of this kind , possesaing a sufficient degree of resemblance, are 
rare; but art appears not to have been used. Eveninpianto, weflad 
this sort of resemblance: There is a speeies of the orchis, where 
Nature has formed a bee , apparently feeding in the breast of (he 
flower, with so much exactness , that it is impossible at a very small 
distance to distinguish the imposition. Hence the plant derives lis 
name , and is called the Bee-Flower. Langhorne elegaatly notices 
its appearance :-r- 

** See on tlut flow*ret*s TeWtt breast, 
How close the busy Tagrant lies! 
HU tfain^wroa^t plame , his downy breast , 
The ainbrofial gold that sweUa his thighs.*' 

*' Perhaps his fragrant load may bind 

His limbs ;--* we'll set the captire free— 
I sooghl theuTxvoBBStoluid, 
And fimnd the vicnniB o£ a bu." 

The late Mr. Jackson of Exeter wrote to me on this stii^ed : 
*^ This orchis is common near our sea-coasts ] but instead of being 
exactly like a bee ^ it is not like it at all. It has a general rcseoi' 


bifme\0 9i^j9aAby thebeipof iiaaginatioaiii^ybesiH^^sed to 
be a flj pitched upon Ibe flower. The maodrflfce y^T frequently has a 
forfeedroot, which may be foncied to resewUeUiighsaBd legs. I 
bave Men H helped out with nails on the toes/' 

Ab iagenuHis fKHanist, afler reading (bis artieje, was (o kind as 
loffiBdwespeciBMiisof Ih^ fiy cnAm ^ ^ffitys musctfera,mdo( 
(he AetwMs, cphry^$ apifera* Tbw remnblapce le ihese insects 
nkeei in ftiU Qoweris 4ieiiK)Ktperfeet eooo^YRble : thear me disftiaci 
pMi. The poeliealfye of iLpi^home was eqiMj eorr^ and faiH 
dU;aBdthat tooof Jnckflw, wla^Wwi 90 ppsittvelr. Many ooi^ 
tromries baTetamcwned on , from a want of a littte more know- 
Mgi'fUkeHuilofttieB^ oraJJui^aBdtlieKLT orckis, both partto 

AooOier curious specimen of the playAil operations of nature is (he 
raaodrnke', a plopt indeed, when it « bare pf leaves, perfectly re- 
seBttog^ttial of llie human form. The giosei^ tree b oQfk^ 
sanietppeanMe. This oftfaellbn lasie poet has noticed :— 

*' Mark how ^t rooted mandnXe wears 
IBs buaun iMt, Us ksimni luiiids{ 
OH, MhisalApilTlbfaifaerain, 
ikglMst the firigbt^ plonshmw stands." 

He closes this beautifhl fable with the following stanza not inap^ 
posite to the curious subject of this article : 

• '* Halrotia's rocks, Sabrina's waves, 

StiU many a shining pehble bear : 
Where natnre*s studious hand engraves 
The FSB.rBCT form , and leaves it there.** 


UuEir has giyen a ehamnng desoilptioR of a present made by a 
loTer to his mistress ; a gift which romance has sddom equalled for 
its gidlantry, ingenuity, and noTelty. It was called the Garland of 
Jolk. To understand the nature of this gift , it wiH be necessary to 
give the history of the parties. 

The beauttM luHa d'Angennes was in the flower of her youth 
ftnd fome , when the oeiebraled GustaTUS , king of Sweden , was 
inakiag war in Germany with themost ^dendidsuccess. Julia express- 
^ her warm admiration of this hero. She had his portrait placed 
on her toBette , and took pleasure in declaring that she would have 
no other tover than Gustavus. T^e Duke de Montausier was, howe- 
ver, her avowed and ardent admirer. A short time after the death 
of Gttsttfvus , he sent her, as a new-year's gill , the poetical gar- 
^Km, oT whkh the lblk)wi»g is a description. 


The most beautiftil flowers were painted in miniature iff an emi- 
nent artist , one Robert , on pieces of vellum , all of ecpial dimen- 
sions. Under every flower a space was left open for a madrigal on 
the subject of the flower there painted. The duke solicited the wUs ef 
the time to assist in the composition of these little poems , reserving 
a considerable number for the effusions of his own amorous muse. 
Under every flower he had its madrigal written by N. du Jarry, ce- 
lebrated fbr his beautify caligraphy. A decorated frontispiece offer- 
ed a splendid garland composed of all these twenty-nine flowers; 
and on turning the page a cupidii^ painted to the life. These were 
magnificently bound, and enclosed in a bag of rich Spanish leather. 
When Julia awoke on new-year's day, she found this lover's gill 
lying on her toilette -, it was one quite to her taste , and successfiil to 
the donor's hopes. 

Of this Poetical Garland , thus fbrmed by the hands of Wit and 
Love , Huet says, ^^ As I had long heard of it, I frequently express- 
ed a wish to see it : at length the duchess of Uz^z gratified me with 
the sight. She locked me in her cabinet one afternoon with this gar- 
land : she then went to the queen, and at the cloae of the evening 
liberated me. I never passed a move agreeable afternoon." 

One of the prettiest inscriptions of these flowers is the following, 
composed for 


'* Modeste en ma cooleor, modeste en mon sejoar, 
Franche d*anibition, je me cache sous Tberbe^ 
Mais si sor rotre front je puis me voir nn jour. 
La pins komble des flours sera la plus snperbe.*' 

** Modest my colour, modest is my place , 
Pleased in the grass my lowly form to hide ; 
Bat mid yooir tresses might I wind witii grace f 
The hnmblcst flower would £eel the loftiest pride." , 

The following is some additional information respecting ^^ the 
Poetical Garland of Julia.'' 

At the si|le of the library of the Duke de la VaUi^re , in 1784, 
among its numerous literary curiosities this garland appeared. It was 
actually sold for the extravagant sum of 14,510 livres! though in 
1770, at Gaignat's sale, it only cost 780 livres. It is described to be 
^^ a manuscript on vellum, composed of twenty-nine flowers paintM 
by one Robert , under which are inserted madrigals by various au- 
thors." But the Abb^ Rive , the superintendant of the Yallidre li- 
brary, published , in 1779 , an inflammatory notice of this garhmd ; 
and as he and the duke had the art of i^preciating , and it has been 


mUimaiing spuiioiis Utonry cwioBilies, this notice was no doubt 
Ibeieettion of tbe maniacal price, 
lo the great French Reyolution, this literary curiosity found its 
) into this country. A iiookseller offered it for sale at the enor- 
\ price of 500/. sterling ! No curious collector has been disco- 
lered to have purchased this unique ; which is most remarimble for 
the extreme folly of the purchaser who gaye the 13,510 Urres for 
poetry and painting not always exquisile. The history of the C^- 
hnd of JuMa is a child's lesson for certain rash and inexperienced 
eoOectors , who may here 

** Learn to do wdl by otbert* bann." 


MoirrFLBURY , a French player, was one of the greatest actors of 
hi^ time for characters highly tragic. Hedied of thetiolent efforts he 
DMideinrepresMiting Orestes in the Andromache of Racine. Hie au- 
thor of the '^ Pamasse reforms'^ makes him thus express himself 
io the shades. Th^re is something extremely droll in his lamenta- 
tioos, with a severe raillery on the inconyeniences to which tragic 
acton are liaUe. 

^' Ah ! how sincerely do I wish that tragedies had never been in- 
ifented ! I might then hate been yet in a state capable of appearing 
OD tbe stage ; and if I should not have attained the glory of sustain- 
ing subtime charact^s , I should at least have trifled agreeably, and 
have worked off my spleen in laughing ! I hate wasted my lungs in 
the Tiolait ^notions of jealousy, love, and ambition. A thousand 
times have I been obliged to force mys^ to rq[)resent more passions 
than Le Bran ever painted or conceived. I saw myself frequently 
oUged to dart terrible glances ; to roll my eyes fririously in my 
head, like a man imane ; to frighten others by extravagant gri-> 
Buees; to imprint <m my countenance the redness of indignation 
and hiired ^ to make the paleness of fear and surprise succeed each 
other b; turns ; to eiq[>res8 the transports of rage and despair^ to cry 
out like a demoniac; and consequently to strain aU the parts of my 
bodj to render my gestures fitter to accompany these different im- 
prasioQs. The man then who woukt Imow of what I died , let him 
not ask if it were of the fever, the dropsy, or the gout *, but let him 
bow that it was iA the Andromache P' 

The Jesuit Rapin informs us , that when Mondori acted Herod 
in the Mariamne of Tristan , the spectators quitted the theatre 
BMnM and thoughtful ; so tenderly were they penetrated with 
i« sorrows of the w^rtunate heroine. In this melancholy pleasure, 

1. H 


he says, we have a mile piciure of Uib fltMmg tuqiresmiis wbM 
were made by the Grecian tragedians. Mondori indeed felt so power* 
fully the character lie assumed , that it cost him his life. 

Some readers may recollect the death of Bond , who feltsoexqjiii- 
sitely the character of Lusignan in Zara , which he personated when 
an M man, that Zara , when she addrsssed him, ftmnd him dead 
in his chair ! 

Tlie assumption of a variety of characters , by a person ofirri- 
table and deliiDate nerves , has often a tragical effect on the mental 
faculties. We might draw up a list of actors , who have CoJlen mar- 
tyrs to their tragic characters. Several have died on the stage , 
and , like Pahner, usually in the midst of some agitated appeal to 
the feelings. 

Baron , who was the French Garrick , had a most elevated notion 
of his profession : he used to say, that tragic actors should be nursed 
on the lap of queens ! Nor was his vanity inferior to his enthusiasm 
fior bis profiossion -, for, according to him , the world might see oaee 
in a century a Cwsaty but that it required a thousand years to pro- 
duce a JSoro/t I A viuiety of anecdotes testify the admirable talents 
he di^ayed. Whenever he meant to compliment the talents or meril 
of distinguished characters, he always delivered in a pointed man- 
ner the striking passages of the play, fixing his eye on them. An 
observation of his respecting actors , is not less applicable to poets 
and to painters. ^^ Rules ,'' said this sublime actor, ^^ may teach us 
not to raise the arms above the head^ but if passion carries fliem , 
it will be wdi done*, PASSioff knows more than art.^' 

Betterton , although his countenance vras ruddy and sanguine, 
when he performed Hamlet , through the violent and sudden emo- 
tion of amaaement and horror at the presence of his Mher's spectre, 
instantly turned as white as his neckcloth, while his whcrfebody seem- 
ed to be affected witti a strong tremor : had his fiither's appari^ 
tion actually risen before him , he could not have been seised wittt 
more real agonies. This struck the spectators so forcibly, that they 
frit a shuddering in their veins, and participated in the astontshment 
and the horror so apparent in the actor. Davies id his Dramatic 
Miscellanies records this fact ^ and in the Richardsoniana , we And 
that the first time Booth attempted the ghost when Betterton acted 
Hamlet, that actor*s look at him struck him with such horror that 
he became disconcerted to such a degree , that he could not speak 
his part. Here seems no want of evidence of the force of the ideal 
presence in this marvellous acting : these foots might deserve a phi- 
losophical investigation. 

Le Kain , the French actor, who retired (Wrni the Partoian sts^^ 
like our Garrick , covered with gk>ry and gold , was one day c(^ 


«nMiM bf ^ wetupait on Ae refin^tt^nt wbidh lie ^as preparing^ 
todjof. "Ab to 0ory," modesfly repMed this actor, "I do not 
flatfer myseir to have aoqaitied much. This kind of reward is always 
dispirted by many, and you yours^es woutd not allow it , were I 
loassone it. As to the money, I hate not so much reason to be 
niBfled; at the Il^an theatre their share i$ far more considerable 
to mine^ m ador there may get twenty to twenty-4ve thousand 
Mwes , and my share amounts at the most to ten or twelve thousand.^ 
" How ! the devil ! " exclaimed a rude chevalier of the t)rtJer of St. 
LoiriB, who was present, **How! tiie devM! a vile stroQer is not 
content with twelve thousand Kvres annually, and' I , who am Ih the 
tbg's service , who sleep upon a cannon mid lavish my blood for 
tnj country, I must consider myself as fortunate in having obtained 
apensioB of one thousand livres." "And do you account as nothing ^ 
*, fteliberty of addressingjgie thusl" replied Le Kain, with all the 
subtutoity and conciseness of an irritated Cirosmane. 

Thememdrs of Mademoiselle Glairon display her exalted feeling 
of the character of a sublime actress ; she was of opinion , that in 
common fife the tndy sublime actor should be a hero or heroine 
off (he stage. " If I am only a vulgar and ordinary woman during 
twenty hours of the day, whatever effort I may make , I shaU only 
be an onfinary and vulgar woman to Agrippina or Semiramis , dur- 
ing Ihe remaining four. In soctety she was nick-named the Queen 
oTCarthage, from her admirable personification of Dido In a tragedy 
of that name. ^e 


The% prev^iers , whose works are ejicessively rar^ , form a race 
imkaown to the general reader. I shall sketch the characters of 
fteic iitoos imlroons , before I introduce them te his acquaintance. 
Thej, asHhaaheehsaidofSl^e, seemM to have wished , every 
oov and then', to have flmiwn tiiefr wigs into 8ie Ihees of their 

These in-eachers flourtehecl in the fourteidhth ^ fifteenth , and six- 
^ih centuries; we are therefore to ascribe their extravagant 
^Mofe of grave admonition with facetious illustration , comic 
lal^ which have been occasionally adopted by the most licentious 
vrilers , and minute and lively descriptions , to the great simpli- 
city of the times , when ttie grossest indecency was never concealed 
VBfcr a gentle periphrasis , but every thing was called by its name. 
AO this Was ^itfbrtsed by the most daring personalities j and sea- 
s<NMd by thote temporary allu^ons which neither spared, nor feared 
^en the throne. These ancient sermons therefore are singularly 



precious, to those whose inquisHive pleasures are gratified by tra- 
cing the manners of former ages. When Henry Stephens , in bis 
apology for Herodotus , describes the irregularities of the age, and 
the minutisB of national manners , he effects this chiefly by eib^flMSIs 
from these sermons. Their wit is not always the brightest , nor flieir 
saUre the most poignant ; but there is always that prevvling inajh 
i^ete of ihe age running through their rude eloquence, which in- 
terests the reflecting mind. In a word, fliese sermons were addressed 
to the multitude ; and therefore they show good sense and absur- 
dity ; fancy and puerility ; satire and Insipidity ^ extravagance and 

Oliyer Maillard, a famous cordelier, died hi 1502. This preacher 
having pointed some keen traits in his sermons at Louis XI. , llie 
irritated monarch had our cordelier iqformed that he would throw 
him into the river. He replied undaunted , and not forgetting his 
satire : '*• The king may do as he chooses ^ but tell him that I shall 
sooner get to paradise by water, than he will arrive by all his post 
horses." He alluded to travelling by post , which this monarch had 
lately introduced into France. This bold answer, it is said, intimi- 
dated Louis ] it is certain ttiat Maillard continued as courageous and 
satirical as ever in his pulpit. 

The following extracts are descriptive of the manners of Ihe 

In attacking rapine and robbery, under the first head he describes 
a kind of usury, which was practised in the days of Ben Jonson , 
and I am told in the present , as well as in the times of MaiDard. 
^^ This ,'' says he, '' is called a palliated usury. It is Uius. When a 
person is in want of money, he goes to a treasurer (a kind of banker 
or merchant),- on whom he has an order for 1000 crowns; the 
treasurer tells him that he will pay him in a fortnights time , wfaea 
be is to receive the money. The poor man cannot wait. Our good 
treasurer tells him , I will give you halfin money and half in goods. 
So he passes his goods ttiat are wortti 100 crowns for '200.'' He iben 
touches on the bribes which these treasurers and clerks in office 
took , excusing themsdves by alleging the littte pay they otherwise 
received. ^^ All Uiese practices be sent to the devils I '' cries Maillard , 
in thus addressing himself to the ladies : ^Mt is for ^ou aU this dam- 
nation ensues. Yes ! yes ! you must have rich satins , aiid giidles of 
gold out of this accursed money. When any one has any thing to 
receive from the husband , he must first make a present to the wttt 
of some fine go^n , or girdle , or ring. If you ladies and gentionen 
who are battening on your pleasures , and wear scarlet clothes , I 
believe if you were closely put in a good press , we shouM see the 
blood of Uie poor gush out , ^ith which your scarlet Is dyed/' 


Mtfbrd notices the foUowing curious particuiars of the mode of 
(Seating in trade in his times* 

He IS Tiolent against the apothecaries for their cheats. They mix 
ginger with cinnamon , which they sell for real spices : they put 
flieiriNigs of ginger, p^per, saffron, cinnamon, and other drugs 
in damp cellars , that they may weigh heatier ; they mix oil with 
afflron, to giye it a colour, and to make it weightier. He does not 
forget those tradesmen who put water te their wool , and moisten 
Mr ckrth that it may stretch; tayem-keepers, who sophisticate 
4Dd mingle wines -, the butchers who blow up their meat , and who 
mix bog's lard with the fat of their meat. He terribly declaims against 
Qiofle whobuy with a great -oUowance of measure and weight, and 
Itoi sen with a small measure and weight *, and curses those who , 
wtien they weigh , press the scales down with their finger. But it is 
time to conchide with Master Oliver ! His catalogue is , however, 
by no means exhausted; and it may not be amiss to observe, that 
the present age has retained every one of the sins. 

The following extracts are firom Menot's sermons , which are 
written, like Maillard's , in a barbarous Latin mixed with old 

Michad Menot died in 1518. I think he has more wit than MaH- 
hrd, and occasionally displays a brilliant imagination; with the 
sime siogolar mixture of grave declamation and farcical absurdities. 
He 18 called in the title-page the goldenrtongued. It runs thus. Pre- 
dicatoris qui lingua aurea, sua tempestate nuncupatus est, 
Sermones quadragesimales , ab ipso olim Turorus declamati. 
Paris, 1525, 8vo. 

When he compares the church with a vine , he says , ^^ There 
were once some Britons and Englishmen who would have carried 
awaj aD France into their country, because they found our wine 
better than their beer; but as they well knew that they could not 
always remain in France, nor carry away France into their country, 
Qiey would at least carry with them several stocks of vines; they 
planted some in England; but these stocks soon degenerated, because 
tbe sofl was not adapted to them.'' Notwithstanding what Menot said 
in 1500, and that we have tried so often , we have often flattered 
ourselves that if we {dant vineyards we may have English wine. 

The following beautiful figure describes those who live neglectful 
of their aged parents , who bad cherished them into prosperity. 
'' See the trees flourish and recover their leaves ; it is their root 
Ihat has produced all ; but when the branches are loaded with flow- 
^ and with fruits , they yield nothing to the root. This is an image 
of those chiMren who prefer their own amusements , and to game 


a^ay tbete fovtuneft , than to giv^to their oU parents in ctt^ which 
they want." 

He oioquaints us with the following circnmalaiiceft of the tmmo- 
calUy 6£ that age : ^' Who has sot got a mistress besides lus wife? 
The poor wife eats the Gcuits of bitterness, and even makes, the bed 
for the mistress.'* Oaths were not unfashionabte in his ^y. ^^ Sinoe 
the world has been world, this crime was sever greater. There were 
Once pillories for these swearers ; but now this crime is so common, 
that thi9 clUld of five years can swear ; and even the old dotard of 
eighty, who has only two teeth remainitig , can fling oat an oath ! ' 

On the power of the fair sex of his day, he observes, '' A fetfaer 
says , «iy $on studies *, he must have a bishoprtck , or an abbej of 
500 livres« Than he will have dogs , horses , and mistresses, like 
others. Another says , I will have my son placed at court, and have 
many honourable dignities. To succeed weH , both employ the m^ 
diaUon of women ; unh^pily the church and the law are entirely 
at their disposal. We have artM Dalilahs who shear us close. For 
twelve crowns and an ell of velvet given to a woman , you gain the 
worst lawsuit, and the best living.'' 

In his last sermon , M enot I'ecapitulates the various topics he had 
touched on during Lent. This extract presents a curious picture, 
and a just notion of the versatile talents of these preachers. 

*' I have told ecclesiastics how they should conduct themsehes \ 
not that they are ignorant of their duties ; but I must ever repeal 
to girls , not to suffer themselves to be duped by them. I have toid 
these ecclesiastics that they should imitate Oie lark \ if she has a 
grain she does not remain idle, but feels her pleasure in singing) 
and in singing always is ascending towards heaven. So they should 
not amass •, but elevate the hearts of all to God •, and not do as the 
fi^ogs who are crying out day and night , and think they have a fine 
throat , but always remain fixed in the mud. 

*' I have told the men of the law that they should have the 
qualities of the eagle. The first is, that this bird when it flies fi)^es 
its eye on the sun-,, so all judges, counsellors , and attorneys, in 
Judging , writing , and signing , should always have God before 
their eyes. And secondly, this bird is never greedy ; it willingly 
shares its prey with others \ so all lawyers , who are rich in crowns 
after having had their bills paid , should distribute some to the poor, 
particularly when they are conscious that their money arises from 
their prey. 

** I have spoken of the marriage state, but all that I have said 
has been disregarded. See those wretches who break, the hymeneal 
chains , and abandon their wives ! they pass their holidays out of 
their parishes , because if they remained at home they must have 


ioiMd ikoi wi¥ei «i ehuvch ; they like their t>roBtttule9 belter ; and 
it will kt so every day Id Ihe yenr! I would as well (Hue wiUi a 
Jet or a hereti&^ as with them. What an infected place is this! 
HE^reas LiAricity has talten poasesslon of the whole city ; look in 
every corner, and yoo'U he eoofinced. 

" For you mmrried women./ If you have lieard ttie nightingale's 
901$, yon most know thiA she sings during three months , and that 
sbeis siieal wlien she has yonng ones. So ttiere is a time in which 
jou maf sing and take your pteasures in the marHage state , and 
awHher lo watch your cluldren. Don't damn yourselves for them ; 
and remanber it weald be better to see them drowned than 

'' Asto wuioivf > I observe y that the turtle withdraws and stghsr 
ii Ihe voods^ whenever she has lost her companion ^ so most they 
Ntire into the wood of the cross , and hating IffU their temporal 
hisbaad , take no other biii Jesus Ghrisl. 

'' And, to close all, I have ftoM girls thai Ihey musi fly ktm ttie 
coBiiuiy of men , and not pern^t ttiem to embrace , nor even tou<^ 
them. Look on tiie roee ; It has a deUghtfal odour ; if embalms the 
place in vhich it is plaeed; but if you grasp it underneath, it will 
prick JOU (ill the blood issues . The beanty of the rose Is the beauty 
of tbegirl. The beauty and perfumeof the first invite to saoell and to 
baodle it^but when it is touched underneath it pricks sharply*, the 
teuty of a girl likewise invites the hand ; but you , my young la-' 
dies, you must iMver suffer this, for i tell you that every man who 
does this designs to nmk» you hsrlals.'' 

These ample eitraots may convey the same pteasure to ttie reader 
vhidi I have received by eoHecting them fh>m ttieir scarce erigi- 
oak, little known eveato the curious. Menot, it cannot be deided, 
displays a poetic knagiaation , and a fertility of conception which 
distiaguishes him among his rviaisw The same taste and popular 
naaoer cante into our country, and were suited to the shnpheily of 
Qte 2^e. In 1527, our Bishop Lathner preached a sermon, in whdeh 
be expresses himself thus : — ^^ Now, ye have heard what is meant 
by Ihis/m cardy and how ye ougjit to j^jr. I purpose again to 
ded unto you aoother card of the sixme suit^ for they be so nigh 
affinity, that one cannot beweU placed without the other." it ia 
curkius to observe abeut a century afterwards , as Fuller informs 
us , that when a country clergy mM imitated these fendliar aMusions , 
Ihe lasie of the congregation had so changed that he was^ interrupted 
by pe^ of laughter ! 

Gven in more modern times have Menot and Maillard found 
in imitator in tittle Father Andr^ , as w^ as others. His character 
bas tieen variously drawn. He is by some represented as a kind of 


fMiCTooii in the pulpit ; fmt ofiien mere Ju^depsly obeenFe , ttttl 
he oBly indolgad his natural genius^and uttered humorous and 
lively things y as the good father ohsenres himself, to keep tiie 
attention of his audience awake. He was not always laughing, ^^lie 
toki many a bold truth ," says the author of Guerre des Avteurs 
andens et modernes, ^^ that sent bishops to their dioceses , and 
made many a coquette blush. He possessed the art of biting when 
be smiled^ and more ably combated vice by his ingenious satire 
than by those vague apostro^dies which no one takes to himself* 
While others were shraining their minds to catch at sublime thoughts 
which no one understood, he lowered his talents to the most humble 
situations,* and to the minutest things. From them he drew his 
examples and his comparisons -, and the one and the other never 
foiled of success.'' MarviUe says , that ^^ His expressions were fUM 
of shrewd simplicity. He made very free use of the most popular 
proverbs. His comparisons and figures were always borrowed fh>m 
Die most familiar and lowest things.'' To ridicule effectually the 
reigning vices , he would prefer quirks or puns to sublime thou§^ ; 
and he was little solicitous of his choice of expression, so the things 
came home. Gozxi , in Italy, had the same power in drawing unex- 
pected inferences from vulgar and familiar occurrences. It was by 
this art Whitfield obtained so many followers. In Piozzi's British 
Synonymes , vol. ii. p. 205, we have an instance of Goui's man- 
ner. In the time of Charles II. it became foshionable to introduce 
humour into sermons. Sterne seems to have revived it in his ; 
South' s sparkle perpetually with wit and pun. 

Far different, however, are the characters of the sublime preach- 
ers, of whom the French have preserved the following descrip- 

We have not any more Bourdaloue, La Rue, and Massilloo^ * 
but the idea which still exists of their manner of addressing their 
auditors may serve instead of lessons. Each had his own pecuUar 
mode , always adapted to place , time , circumstance *, to their audi- 
tors , their style , and their subject. 
•^ Bourdaloue^ with a collected air, had Ullte action; witti eyes ge- 
nerally half closed, he penetrated the hearts of the people by Oie 
sound of a voice uniform and solemn. The tone with which a sacred 
orator pronounced the words , Tu es ille ^irf ^^ Thou art the man !'* 
in suddenly addressing them to one of the kings of France, struck 
more ibrcibly than their application. Madame de S6vign£ describes 
our preacher, by saying, '' Father Bourdaloue thunders atNohre- 
' Dame." 

La Rue appeared with the air of a prophet. His manner ww 
irresistiUe, ML of fire, intelligence, and force. He had strokes 


perMlj original. SeferaloU men, bis oontemporaries , stfll shud- 
dered at the recolectton of tlie expression which he employed in 
ao apostrophe to the God of tengeance, Evfoginare gladium 

Hie person of BhssUlon aftected his admirers. He was seen in 
fte pvlpit with that air of simplicity, that modest demeanour, those 
v^ humbly declining , those unstudied gestures, that pas^onate 
tme, that mild countenance cf a man penetrated wiOi his subject , 
eoiTeying to the mind the most luminous , ideas , and to the heart 
tbe most Imder emotions. Baron the tragedian , coming out fh>m 
one of his sermons , truth forced from his lips a confession humi- 
KaHog to his profesmn : ^^ My friend,'' said he to one of his com- 
puuoDS , ^^ this is an or/itor/ and we are only cuAots.^^ 


Thbke have been found occasionally some artists who could so 
perfeetty imitate Hm spirit, the taste , the character, and the pecu- 
liirities of great mailers , that they htire not unft^equer^ly deceifed 
flie most ddlfted connoisseurs. Michael Angelo sculptured a sleeping 
Cupid, of whieh baring br(4cen off an arm , he buried the statue in 
a place where be knew*it would soon be found. The critics were 
never tired of admiring it , as one of the most precious relics of 
aottqnity. It w«is(rid to the Cardinal of St. George, to whom Mi- 
cbael Angdo discovered the whole mystery, by Joining to the Cupid 
Am arm which he had reserved. 

An anecdote of Peter Mignard is more singular. This great artist 
paialeda Magdiden on a canvass fabricated at Rome. A broiler, in 
concert with Mignard , went to theChevalierd^Clairville, and told 
Um as a secret that he was to rec^e fh>m Italy a Magdalen of 
Giddo, and his masterpiece. The chevalier caught the bait, begged 
ttie preference, and purchased die i^ture at a very hi^priee. 

He was informed that he had been hnposed upcm , and that the 
Magdilen was painted by Mignard. Mignard himself caused the 
alarm to be given, frat the amateur would not bdieve it •, all the 
ooimoiaseursagreedit wasaGuido, and thefiunousLeBnincorro- 
ixvtied this opinion. 

The chevalier came to Mignard : — ^^ Some persons assure me 
that my Magdalen is your worlLP'— ^' Mine ! they do me great ho- 
txmr. I am sure that Le Bran is not of this opinion.'' — ^^ Le Brun 
swears it can be no other Qian a Guido. You shall dine with me , 
and meet several of the first connoisseurs." 

On the day (rf meeting, the picture was again more closely inspect* 
«d. Mignard hinted his doubts whether the piece was the worli of 


Ihai great masler; be iittinoatod tbal it was posgAle to fie deeehM; 
and added, that if it was Guido^, he did not ttiink it in Ms best 
Hftanner. ^' It is a Guido , sir, and in his yery best manner,'^ replied 
Le Bran , with warmth ; and all the critics were unanimous. Mig- 
aard then spolce in a firm tone of voice : ^' And I , gentiemen , will 
wager three huadred kmis that it is not a Guldo/^ The dispute now 
became TioleBl : Le firun was desirous of accepting the wager. In 
a word, the aAir became such that it could add nothing Hiore to 
the glory ef Mignard. *'No, sir," replied the latter, " I am loo 
honest to bet when I am certain le win. Monsieur le Cheyalier, 
this piece cost you 2000 crowns : the money must be returned,— 
the painting is mine.'" Le Brun would not beliefe it. ^' The proof,'' 
Mignard continued, ^^ is easy. On this canvass, which is a Romaa 
one, was the portrait of a cardinal; I will show you his cap."— 
The chevalier did not know which of the rival artists to credit. The 
proposition alarmed him.*^' He who painted the picture shall repair 
it," said Mit^ard. He look a pendl dipped in oil, and nibbing the 
hair of the Magdalen , di^co^ered the cap of the cardinal. The honoar 
of the ingenious painter could no longer be ^hspuled*, Le Brvn , 
vexed, sar^eualicaifty exclaimed^ ^' Always painft Guido, but never 

There is a eolection of engravings by that ingenious arti^ Ber- 
nard Pieart, which has been published under the title of The 
Innocent Impostors. Pieart had long been vexed at the taste of ki» 
day, which ran whoHy in fiKvovr of antiquity, and no oae would 
look at, much less admire, a modem master. He publlstieda 
pretend^ collection, or a set of prints, from the designs of the 
great painters ] in which he imitated the etchings and engravings of 
flie vatious masters, and mueh were these prints admired as the 
works of Guido, Rembrandt, andothers. Having had his joke, they 
were puUished under the tide of Imposteurs innocens. The con- 
noisseurs, fattwever, are strangely divided in their opMon of the 
merit of this coHeotioR. Gilpin classes these '^ Inaooent Impostors'* 
anong the most entertairaig of his works , and is dettghted by the 
happiness with which he has outdone in their own excelienees the 
artists whom he copied; but Strutt, too gmve Id adnit ef Jokes 
ttiat twitch the connoisseurs, declares that they could never have 
deceived an eiqperienoed judge , and reprafeales such kinds of 
ingeMiuty, played off at the cost of the veneraUe bvotherboad of 
the oognoseenli ! 

The same thing was, however, done by Goltaius, who M»$ 
disgusted at the preference given to ttn works of Albert Duiw, 
Lucas of Leyden , and others of tliat school , and having aktemiii^ 
to introduce a belter taste, wUch vras not inunediaMy rettshed, he 


pNited wkii were ^tonvanis oalM hta imiJ^/^fM^cffff. Ilwse 
are six prints in the style of these masters, merely lo pcove that 
MbiMQoidd imiiale thdr works, if he thought proper. One of 
Ibese, the GirewinsioD, he had prMed en soiled paper; and to 
live it thebrowa lint of aidk|iiity hadcartftdty snoked it , by which 
neaw it waa sold as a euriovs performance, and deceived sane of 
thesest capital connoisseiirs of ttie day, onn of witom iMMt^ht it as 
OM af the fifiest engr&Tings of Albert Dnrer : ewn Striitt ackkiow* 
Mges the ■wril of Goltzius's master-pzeces! 

To Ihaae instances of artists I will add ottiers of celd>raled authors. 
Miaretus rendered Josqph Scaliger, a great stickler for the ancients,, 
Ufhly ridiculous by an artttce which he practised* He sent some 
Terses which be pretended were copied from an old manuscript. 
The Yerses were excellent, apd Scaliger was credulous. After hav- 
ing read them, he exclaimed they were admbTable, and affirmed 
fliatQiey were wrMen by an oU comk poet, Trabeus. He quoted 
tbm, in his comittentary on Yarro De Re rusucd, as one of the 
most precious fragments of anHqnity. It was then , when he had 
ftud fais foot firmly hi the trap, that Muretus informed the worM 
QftheMttledqieiideDoe to bei^aeedon the critieai sagacity of one so 
pr^Bdiced in fhyour of the anoienls , and who considered his judg« 

The Abb6 Regnier Desmaiais, having written an ode or, as the 
iWiaDscall it, canzone, sent it to the AhM Strozd atFlorewe , who 
«0d ittoimpgae on three or four academiciana of Ddla Cmsoa. Ue 
gave eat thai Leo AUattus, libiariaH ei the Vatican, in examming 
oraiUly the MSS. of Mrarcbpreaervad theia, had found two pages 
slightly glued , which having separated , he had discovered this ode. 
The fiiot was not at first easily credited ^ but aflerwards the.similarily 
of a^ and manner randcied M highly probable. When Strosat 
«idminndthapabiic,itproa«ndthe Abb^Regnierapte the 
Mdnny, as an honourable testtmony <tf his ingenuity. 

Mra OMunive , when Louis XIY . resolved on the conquest of 
Mhad, c«nposeda Late foble, eotitied '' The Sun and the^ f^^ 
iftwhtoh he assnned with sncb feiieity the style and chavacter of 
Vkninis, tlMt the leained Wolftus was deceived, and innoeentfty 
itarted it hi his edition of that fabulist. 

F^intas Sivada, would have deceived most of the critics of his 
tg», tf he had given as the remains of anti<|mly the different pieces 
oT history and poetry which be composed on the model of the 
^acksnto , in Ms Prolusiones academiocB. To preserve pnobability 
^ night have given out that he had drawn them fhmi some oM 
«ri neglected Mbrary^ he had then only to have added a good 
commentary, tending fo di^y the coiAMrmiiy of the style and^ 


nuniier of ttiete fragoientft with the works of those authors to whom 
he ascribed ttiem. 

Sigonius was a great master of the style of Cicero , aad feotured 
to publish a treatise De Consokuione , as a compo^on of Cicero 
recently discovered ; many were deceifed by the counterfeit , which 
was performed with great dexterity, and was long receiyed as genutoe^ 
but he could not deoeive Lipshis , who , after reading only ten hoes, 
threw it away, exclaiming, ^' Fah! non est Ciceronis.'' The late 
Mr. Burke succeeded more skilfully in his ^^ Vindication of Natural 
Society," which for a long time passed as the composition of Lord 
BolingfNroke; so perfect is this ingenious imposture of the spirit , 
manner, and course of thinking of the noUe author. I beUere it was 
written for a wager, and fairly won. 


Our Edward the Fourth was a gay and voluptuous prince ; and 
probably owed l^s crown to his handsomeness, his enormous debts , 
and passion for the fair sex. He had many Jane Shores. Honest Philip 
de Comines, his contemporary, says , ^^ That what greatly contri- 
buted to his entering London as soon as he appeared at its gates was 
the great debts this prince had contracted , which made his creditore 
gladly assist him ; and the high fovour in which he was held by the 
bourgeoises^ into whose good graces he had frequently gUded , and 
who gained over to him their husbands, who, I suppose, fbr the 
tranquillity of their lives , were glad to depose or to raise monarchs. 
Many ladies and rich citizens' wives, of whom f<Hinerly he had 
great privacies and Damiliar acquaintance^ gained over to him their 
husbands and relations.'' 

This is the description of his voluptuous life ; we must recoflect 
that the writer had been an eye-witness , and was an honest man^ 

^' He had been during the last twelve years more accustomed i» 
his ease and pleasure than any other prince who lived in his time. 
He had nothing in his thoughts but les dames y and of them more 
than was reasonable ; and hunting-matches, good eating, and great 
care of his person. When he went in their seasons to these hunthig- 
matches , he always had carried wilfa him great pavilions for tes 
dames^ and at the same time gave splendid entertainments; so that 
it is not suprising that his person was as jolly as any one I ever 
saw. He was then young, and as handsome as any man of his age ^ 
but he has since become enormously &t." 

Since I have got old Philip in my hand, the reader wiU not, 
perhaps, be displeased, if he attends to a little more of his naivete, 
which will appear in the form of a conversazione of the times. Ua 
relates what passed between Edward and the king of France. 


^' WheDthe oeremoDy oftbe oalli was conduded, our king , wbo 
mBde^rous of being friendly > began to say to the king otEngland, 
io a iangbiDg way, that he must come to Paris , and be Joirial 
amoiigst our ladies; and that he woold give him the Cardinal de 
Bombon for his confessor , who would very willingly absolve him 
of aay sin which perchance he might commit. The king of England 
seemed well pleased at the invitation, and laughM heartily ; for he 
knew that the said cardinal was unfort ban compagnoru When 
Ihe king was retoming , he spoke on the road to me ; and said that 
he did not like to find the king of England so much inclined to come 
to Paris. ^ He is,' said he, ^a very Iiandsome king ^ he likes the 
women too much. He may probably find one at Paris that may 
make him like to come too often, or stay too long. His predecessors 
have already been too much at Paris and in Normandy;' and that 
' his company was not agreeable this side oj the sea^ but that , 
beyond the sea, he wished to be bonfr^re et amy ?'' 

I have called Philip de Gomines honest. The cMl writers , fh)m 
the simidicity of their style, usually receive this honourable epithet; 
but sometimes they deserve it as Uttle as most modem memoir- 
writers. No enemy is indeed so terrible as a man of genius. Gomines's 
violeDt enmity to the Buke of Burgundy , which appears in these 
memoirs, has been traced by the minute researchers of anecdotes; 
and the cause is not honourable to the memoir-writer, whose resent- 
ment was implacable. De Gomines was bom a subject of the Duke 
of Burgundy, and for seven years had been a favourite; but one day 
retaming ftnom hunting with the Duke, then (kmnt de Gharolois, in 
familiar joeiBarity he sat himself down before the prince , ordering 
the prince to pull off his boots. The count laughed, and did this ; 
bat in return for Gomines's princely amusement, dashed the fKK>t in 
his Dm^, and gave Gomines a Moody nose. From that time he was 
mortified in (he court of Burgundy by the nickname of the hooted 
head. Gomines long felt a rankling wound in his mind; and after 
ibis domestic quarrel, for it was nothing more, he went over to the 
king of France, and wrote off his bile against the Duke of Burgundy 
in these ^^ Memoirs,'' which give posterity a caricature likeness of 
Uiat prince, whom he is ever censuring for presumption, obstinacy, 
pride, and craelty. This Duke of Burgundy, however, it is said, 
with many virtues , had but one great vice, the vice of sovereigns, 
that of ambition! 

The impertinence of Gomines had not been chastised with great 
severity ; but the nickname was never forgiven : unfortunately for 
the duke , Gomines was a man of genius. When we are versed in 
the history of the times, we often discover that memoir-writers have 
some secret poison in their hearts. Many, like Gomines, have had 


the boot dashed on fhdr nose. Personal faficourwondeHWly enliYens 
the style of Lord Orford and Cardinal de Relz. Memoh^ are often 
diclaled by its fiercest spirit; and then histories are composed from 
memoirs. Where is truth ? Not always in histories and memoirs ! 


This great queen passionately admired handsome persons , and 
he was already far advanced in her favour who.approached her with 
beauty and grace. She had so unconquerable an aversion for men 
who had f)een treated unfortunately by nature, that she could not 
endure their presence. 

When she issued IVom her palace , ber guards were careftal to 
disperse from before her eyes hideous and deformed people, the 
lame, the hunchbacked, etc.; in a word, all those whose appearance 
might shock her fastidious sensations. 

^^ There is this singular and admirable in the conduct of jElli^a- 
belh that she made her pleasures subservient to her policy, and she 
maintained her affairs by what in general occasions the ruin of 
princes. So secret were her amours, that even to the present day 
their mysteries cannot be penetrated; but the utility she drew from 
them is public , and always operated for the good of her people. 
Her lovers were her ministers , and her ministers were her lovers. 
Love commanded, love was obeyed ; and the reign of this princess 
was happy, because it was a reign of Loue^ in which its chains and 
its slaverjare liked!'* 

The origin of Raleigh's advancement in the queen's graces was 
by an act of gallantry. Raleigh spoiled a new plush cloak, while the 
queen, stepping cautiously on this prodigal's'footcloth, shot forth a 
smile , in which he read promotion. Captain Raleigh soon became 
Sir Walter, and rapidly advanced in the queen's favour. 

Hume has fUrnished us with ample proofe of the passion which 
her courtiers feigned for her, and which , it appears , never went 
further than boisterous or romantic gallantry. The secrecy of her 
amours is not so wonderful as it seems, if there were natural impe- 
diments to any but exterior gallantries , which seems not doubtful. 
Hume has preserved in his notes a letter written by Raleigh. It is a 
perfect amorous composition. After having exerted his poetic talents 
to exalt her charms and his affection^ he concludes, by comparing 
her majesty, who was then sLcty, to Venus and Diana. Sir Walter 
was not her only courtier who wrote in this style. Even in her old 
age she affected a strange fondness for music and dancing , with a 
kind of childish simplicity; her court seemed a. court of love, and 
she the sovereign. A curious anecdote in a letter of the times has 


McMiis. aecreteTf CJecfl, tfae youftgest son of Lord Burleigh, 
ficcmi to hife perfecUy eniered into her character. Ltdy Derby 
wreabout her Beckaod in her bosom a porlraU; the queen, 
evw it, inqnired about it, but har ladyship was anxious to con- 
ccd it. The queen insisted on having it; and discovering it to be the 
porfrait of young CecU, she snatched ft av^ay , and lying, it v^on her 
shoe, waHLod along with it; afterwards Om pinned it on her elbow, 
and wore it some time there. Secretary Cecil hearing of tUs com- 
jKWd some verses, and got ttiemset to music; this music the queen 
iKisted on heariBg. In his verses Cecil sang that he repined not , 
«KMigh her majesty was pleased to grace others; he contented 
M«self witti tiie favour she had given him, by wearing his portrait 
«hcr feet and on her eftow! The writer of tfae letter adds, " All 
Iteie things are very secret.'' In this manner she contrived to lay 
(be fostest Md on her able servants, and her servants on her. 

Those who are mtimateiy acquainted with the private anecdotes 
of those times know what encouragement this royal coquette gave to 
most who were near her person. IJodd, in his Church History, says, 
that the Bails of Anran and Arundel, and Sir Wffliam Pickering, 
'' were o^t out of hopesof gaining Queen Blizabeth's affections in a 
rai^rtawnial way." 

She encouraged every person of eminence : she even went so far, 
00 theaiiniversary of her coronation, as publicly to take a ring from 
^ finger, and put it on the Duke of Alen^on's hand. She ateo 
ranked amongst hw suitors Henry the Third of France, and Henry 
the Great. 

She nev^ forgave Butenvd fior ridiculing her bad pronunciation 
of Ibeftench language; and when Henry IV. sent him over on an 
cnatesy, she would not receive him. So nice was Ihe irritable pride 
or this great queen, that she made her private ii^uries matters of 

" Thfe queen," writes Du Maurier, in his Memoires pour ser-- 
^(rktHistoire de la Hollander " who displayed so many heroic 
^<!(:oniplishment8, had Ibis foible, of vrishing to be thought beautiful 
by Jdl the worid. I heard from my father, that at every audience he 
had with her mi^eety , she pulled off her gtoves more ttian a hundred 
Uines to display her hands, which indeed were very beautiAil and 
^ery while." 

A not less curious anecdote relates to the affair of the Duke of 
Anjoa and our Elizabeth ; it is one more proof of her partiality for 
*^*n*ome men. The writer was Lewis Guyon, a contemporary. 

'' Francis Duke of Anjou, being desirous of marrying a crowned 
h<ad, caused prc^iosals of marriage to be made to Eliaabeth queen 
^Sogland. Letters passed betvrixt them , and their portraits were 


exchanged. At length her uMjesty infbrmed him , that she wooM 
never contract a muriage with any one who sought her , if she did 
not first see fas person. If he would not come, nothing more should 
be said on the subject. This prince over-pressed by his young firiends 
(who were as littteable of judging as himsdf ), paid no attention to 
the counsels of men of matuff^ judgment. He passed over to England 
without a si^ndid train. The said lady contemplated his person : 
she fouud liim ugly, disfigured by deep scars of the smalljHfx, ttnd 
Uiat he also had an iUrsfiaped nose, with swellings in the neck! 
All these were so many reasons with her , that he could never be 
admitted intq her good graces.'' 

Puttenham , in his very rare book of the ^^ Art of Poesie, '' p. 248, 
notices the grace and majesty of Elizabeth's demeanour, ^^ber 
stately manner of walk , with a certaine granditie rather than gra- 
vietie, marching with leysure , which our sovereign ladye and mis- 
tress is accustomed to doe generally, unless it be when she walketh 
apace for her pleasure, or to catch her a heate in the cold 
mornings. " 

By the following extract from a letter from one of her gentlemen, 
we discover that her usual habits, though studious, were not of 
the gentlest kind , and that the service she exacted fh>m her attend- 
ants was not borne without concealed murmurs. The writer groans 
in secrecy to his Mend. Sir John Stanhope writes to Sir Robert 
Cecil in 1598 : ^' I was all the afternowne with her nu^estie, at mf 
booke^ and then thinking to rest me , went in agayne witti four 
letter. She was pleased v^th the FUosofer's stone , and hath ben 
aU this daye reasonahfff qyyetL Mr. Grevell is absait, and I 
am tyed so as I cannot styrr, but shall be at the wourse for yl, 
these two dayes ! " 

Puttenham, p. 249 , has also recorded an honourable anecdote of 
Elizabeth , and characteristic of that high nujesty which was in her 
thoughts , as well as in her actions. When she came to the crown, 
a knight of the realm , who had insolently behaved to her when 
Lady .Elizabeth, fell upon his knees and besought her pardon, 
expecting to be sent to the Tower ^ she replied miklly : ^' Do you 
not know that we are descended of the lion, whose nature is not 
to harme or prey upon the mouse, or any other such smaD 
vermin ? " 

Queen EUzabelh was taught to write by the celebrated Roger 
Ascham. Her writing is extremely beautiful and correct , as may 
be seen by examining a little manuscript book of prayers, preserved 
in the British Museum. I have seen her first writing-book preserved 
at Oxford in the Bodleian Library : the gradual improvement of 
her modesty's hand-writing is very hcmourabte to her Aligence -, but 

EUZABfiTH. 2^ 

the most curtoos thing is the pa{)er on which she tried her pens -, 
this she usually did hy writing the name of her beloved brother 
Edward ; a proof of the early and ardent attachment she formed to 
that .amiable prince. 

The educationof Elizabeth had been severely classical, she thought 
and she wrote in «dl the q>irit of the characters, (rf antiquity ; and her 
speeches and her letters are studded with apophthegms, and a terse- 
ness of ideas and language , that give an exalted idea of her mind, 
la her evasive answers to the commons , in reply to their petitions 
to her Dujesty to marry, she has employed an energetic word. 
" Were I to tell you that I do not mean to marry, I might say less 
than I did intend-^ and were I to tell you that I do mean to marry, 
I might say more than it is proper for you to know ^ therefore I 
life jou an answer ^ answerless ! " 


The Qiinese language is like no other on the globe; it is said to 
toMn not more than about 330 words , but it is by no means mo- 
DOlODOi]s,for it has four accents ; the even , the raised , the leaned, 
and the returning, which multiply every word into four ] as diflB- 
colt, says Mr. Astle , tor an European to understand, as it is for a 
Chinese to comprehend the six pronunciations of the French e. In 
foct they can so diversify their monosyllabic words by the different 
tones which they give them , that the same character differently 
aceeated signifies sometimes ten or more different things. 

P. Bourgeois, one of the missionaries, attempted, after ten 
meattis' residence at Pekin , to preach in the Chinese language. 
These mre the words of the good father : ^' God knows how much 
this Orst Chinese sermon cost me! I can assure you this language 
reaembles no other. The same word has never but one termination ; 
aod flien adieu to all that in our declensions distinguishes the 
gender, and the numi>er of things we would speak : adieu , in the 
verba, to all which might explain the active person , how and in 
what time it acts, if it acts aione or witti others : in a word , with 
the Chinese , the same word is substantive , adjective , verb , sin- 
gidar, phiral, masculine, feminine, etc. It is the person who hears 
who must arrange the circumstances , and guess them. Add to all 
this , that all the words of this language are reduced to three hundred 
and a few more *, that they are pronounced in so many different 
wa|s, that they signify eighty thousand different things, which are 
eiiuressed by as many different characters. This is not all : the ar- 
nngement of all these monosyllaUes appears to be under no gene- 
ral rule ^ so that to know the language after having learnt the 
I. n 


words , we mudt learn every pariicalar phrase : the least inversion 
would make you unintelligible to three parts of the Chinese. 

^^ I will give you an example of their words. They told me chou 
signifies a book : so that I thought whenever the word chou was 
pronounced , a book was ttie subject. Not at cdl ! Chou, the next 
time I heard it , I found signified a tree. Now I was to recolleet, 
chou was a book or & tree. But this anuninted to nothing ; chou, 1 
found , expressed also great heats; chou is to relate^ chou is the 
Aurora; chou means to be accustomed; chou expresses the loss 
of a wager, etc. I should not fini^ , were I to attempt to give you 
all its significations. 

'' Notwithstanding these singular (MflSculties , could one but find 
a help in the perusal of their books , I should not complain. But 
this is impossible! Their language is quite diflierent fW>m that of 
simple conversation. What will ever be an insurmountable diiflcuKy 
to every European is the pronunciation ; every word may be pro- 
nounced in five different tones , yet every tone is not so distinct 
that an unpractised ear can easily distinguish it. These monosyl- 
lables fly with amazing rapidity ; then they are continually disguised 
by elisions , which sometimes hardly leave any thing of two mono- 
syllables. From an aspirated tone you mmt pass immediately to a 
even one ; ft*om a whistling note to an inward one : sometimes your 
voice must proceed from the palate *, sometimes it must be guttural , 
and almost always nasal. I recited my sermon at least fifty times to 
my servant before I spoke it in public ; and yet I am told , though 
he continually corrected me , that of the ten parts of the sermon (as 
the Chinese express themselves), they hardly understood three. 
Fortunately* the Chinese are wonderfully patient ; and they are 
astonished that any ignorant stranger should be able to learn two 
words of their language. '' 

It has been said that ^^ Satires are often composed in Qiina, which, 
if you attend to the characters , their import is pore and sublinie ; 
but if you regard the toTte only, they cont^n a mening ludicrous or 
obscene. In the Chinese one word sometimes corresponds to throe 
or four thousand characters ^ a property cpiite opposite to that of our 
language , in which ntfricids of different words are expressed by 
the same letters J"' 


In the Philosophical Magazine for May, 1806 , we find that '^se- 
veral of the medical literati on the continent are at present engaged 
in making inquiries and experiments upon the influence cf music 
in the cure of diseases'' The learned Dusaux is said to lead the 
band of this new tribe oX amateurs and cognoscenti. 


Tbe sufiiiect excited my curiosity, though I since hate found that 
it is 00 new discovery. 

There is a curious article in Dr. Bumey's History oi M&sic , ^^ On 
the mecficinal Pollers attributed to Music by the Anc|ents/' which 
be dmved firotn the learned labours of a modern physician, M. Bu- 
rette, who doubtless could play a tune to, as well as prescribe 
one to, his patient. He conceives that music can relieve the pains 
of the sciatica ; and that independent of the greater or less skill (^ 
the DMisician , by flattering the ear, and diverting the attention, and 
oecasioniDg certam vibralions of the nerves , it can remove those 
obstructions which occasion this disorder. M. Burette, and many 
modem physicians and philosophers, have believed that music has 
the power oi affecting the mind , and the whole nervous system , so 
as to give a temporary rdief in certain diseases , and even a radical 
cure. Be Mairan, Bianchini, and other respectaUe names, have 
pursued tbe same career. But the ancients record miracles ! 

The Rev. Dr. Mitchell of Brighthelmstone wrote a dissertation, 
'^ De Arte Medendiapud Priscos , Musices ope atque Caimi- 
num /' i^toted for J. Nichols , 1783. He writes under the assumed 
name of Michael Gaspar; but whether this learned dissertator be 
fpvve or jocular, noore than one critic has not been able to resolve 
roe; 1 8uq[>ect it to be a satire on the parade of Germanic erudition, 
by which they often iM*ove a point by the weakest analogies and the 
most foncif^l conceits. 

Amongst half-civilised nations , diseases have been generally at- 
tributed to the influence of evil spirits. The dq[)ression of mind which 
is gen^tdly attendant on sickness, and the delirium accompanying 
certaia stages of disease , semn to have been considered as especially 
denoting the immediate influence of a demon. The effect of music 
in raising the energies of the mind , or what we commonly call ani- 
Bftal spirits , was obvious to early observation. Its power of attracting 
strong attention may in some oases have appeared to affect even 
those who laboured under a considerable degree of mental disorder. 
Tlie accompanying depression of mind was considered as a part of 
the disease, perhiqps rightly enough, and music was prescribed as a 
remedy to remove the symptom , when experience had not ascer- 
tained the probable cause. Homer, whose heroes exhibit high pas- 
sions, but not refined manners, r^resents the Grecian army as 
employiBg music to stay the raging of the plague. The Jewish na- 
fiOD, in the time of King David , appear not te have been much 
farth^ advanced in civilisation ; accordingly we find David employed 
in his youth to remove the meqtal derangement of Saul by his harp. 
The meOiod (^ cure was suggested as a common one in those days , 
by Saul's servants ; and the success is not mentioned as a miracle. 


Pindar, with poetic licence, speaks of .Ksculapius healing acute 
disorders with soothing songs-^but iEsculapius, whether man or def ly , 
or between both , is a physician of the days of barbartem and fable. 
Pliny scouts ^e idea that music should affect real bodily ihlury, but 
quotes Homer on the subject -, mentions Theophrastus as suggesting 
a tune for the cure of the hip gout , and Cato as entertaining a fancy 
that it had a good effect when limbs were out of joint , and likewise 
that Yarro thought it good for the gout. Aulus Gellius cites a work 
of Theophrastus , which recommends music as a specific for Che bite 
of a Yiper. Boyle and Shakspeare mention the effects of music super 
yesicam. Kircher's " Musurgia , and Swinburne's TraTels, relate the 
effects of music on those who are bitten by the tarantula. Sir W. 
Temple seems to have given credit to the stories of the power of 
music over diseases. 

The ancients , indeed, record miracles in the tales they relate of 
the medicinal powers of music. A fever is removed by a song , and 
deafness is cured by a trumpet, and the. pestilence is chased away 
by the sweetness of an harmonious lyre. That deaf people can hear 
b^t in a great noise is a fact alleged by some moderns , in favour of 
the ancient story of curing deafness by a trumpet. Dr. Willis tells us, 
says Dr. Burney , of a lady who could hear only while a drum ivo^ 
beating , insomuch that her husband, the account says, hired a 
drummer as her servant, in order to eiyoy the pleasure of her con- 

Music and the sounds of instruments , says the lively Yigneul de 
Marville, contribute to the health of the body and the mind; (hey 
quicken the circulation of the blood, they dissipate vapours, and open 
the vessels , so that the action of perspiration is freer. He tells a st<n7 
of a person of distinction, who assured him, that once being suddenly 
seized by violent illness, instead of a consultation of physicians , he 
immediately called a band of musicians \ and their violins played so 
well in his inside , that his I)owels became perfectty in tune , and In 
a few hours were harmoniously becalmed. I once heard a story of 
Farinelli the famous singer, who was sent for to Madrid, to try ttie 
effect of his magical voice on the king of Spain. His mcjesty was 
buried in the profoundest melancholy : nothing couki raise an emo- 
tion in him \ he lived in a total oblivion of life ; he sate in a darkened 
chamf>er, entirely given up to the most distressing kind of madness. 
The physicians ordered Farinelli at first to sing in an out^ room ; 
and for the first day or two this was done , without any effect on Che 
royal patient. At length it was observed, that the king, awakening 
from his stupor, seemed to listen ; on the next day tears were seen 
starting in his eyes; the day after he ordered the door of his chami>er 
to be left open— and at length the perturbed spirit entirely left our 


modera Saul , and the medicinal voice of Farinelli affeeted what bo 
oAo* medicine could. 

I DOW prepare to give the reader some f acts y which he may con- 
sider as a trial of credulity. — ^Their authorities are , however, not 
eoDiemptible. — ^Naturalists assert that animals and birds , as well as 
^' knotted oaks ,'' as Gongreve informs us , are sensible to4he charms 
of music. This, may serve as an instance : — An officer was confined 
in the fiastile ; he begged the governor to permit him the use of his 
lute, to soften , by the harmonies of his instrument, the rigours of 
his prison. At the end of a few days, this modern Qipheus, playing 
on his lute, was greatly astonished to see frisking out of their holes 
great numbers of mice *, and descending from their woven habita- 
tions, crowds of spiders , who formed a circle about him , while he 
continued breathing his soul-subduing instrument. He was petrified 
with astonishment. Having ceased to play, the assembly , who did 
not come to see his person , but to hear his instrument , immediately 
broke up. As he had a great dislike to spiders , it was two days be- 
fore he ventured again to touch his instrument. At length, having 
overcome, for the novelty of his company, his dislike of them , he 
recommenced his concert , when the assembly was by far more nu- 
merous than at first \ and in the course of farther time, he found 
hhnself surrounded by a hundred musical amateurs. Having thus 
succeeded in attracting this company, he treacherously contrived to 
get rid of them at his will. For ttiis purpose he begged the keeper to 
give him a cat, which he put in a cage , and let loose at the very 
instant when the little hairy people were most entranced by the Or- 
phean skin he displayed. 

The Abb6 Olivet has described an amusement of Pelisson during 
his confinement in the Ba^tile which consisted in feeding a spider, 
which he had discovered forming its web in the corner of the small 
window. For some time he placed his flies at the edge, while his valet, 
who was with him , played on a bagpipe : little by little , the spider 
used itself to distinguish the sound of the instrument , and issued 
from its hole to run and catch its prey. Thus calling it always by the 
same sound , and placing the flies at a still greater distance , ho suc- 
ceeded , after several months , to drill the spider by regular exercise, 
so that at length it never failed appearing at the first sound to seize on 
the fly provided for it , even on the knees of the prisoner. 

Marville has given us the following curious anecdote on this sub- 
ject. He says, that doubting the truth of those who say that the love 
of music is a natural taste, especially the sound of instruments , and 
that beasts themselves are touched by it, being one day in the coun- 
try I tried an experiment. While a man was playing on the trump 
0)arine , I made my ot)sci*vations on a cat, a dog , a horse , an ass, 


a biod, cows , small birds , and a cock and hens, who were in a 
yard , under a window on which I was leaning. I did not perceiye 
y^^at the cat was the least affected , and I even judged , by her air, 
that she would haye giten all the instruments in the worid fbr a 
mouse, sleeping in the sun all the time ; the horse stopped short 
from time to time before the window, raising his head up now and 
then , as he was feeding on the grass ^ the dog continued for aboye 
an hour seated on his hind legs , looking steadfastly at the player ; 
the ass did not discover the least indication of his being touched , 
eating his thistles peaceably ; the hind lifted up her large wide ears , 
and seemed yery attentiye ^ the cows slept a little , and after gazing , 
as though they had been acquainted with us, went forward^ sonie 
little birds who were in an aviary, and others on the trees and bush- 
es, almost tore their little throats with singing-, but the cock, who 
minded only his hens, and the hens, who were soldy employed 
in scraping a neighbouring dunghill , did not show in any manner 
that they took the least pleasure in hearing the trump marine. 

A modem traveller assures us , that he has repeatedly observed 
in the island of Madeira that the lizards are attracted by the notes 
of music, and that he has assembled a number of them by the powers 
of his instrument. When ttie negroes catch them , for food, they ac- 
company the chase by whistling some tune , which has always the 
effect of drawing great numbers towards them. Stedman , in his ex- 
pedition to Surinam , describes certain sibyls among the negroes , 
who, among several singular practices, can charm or conjure down 
from the tree certain serpents, who yrill wreath about the arm, neck, 
and breast of the pretended sorceress, listening to her voice. The 
sacred writers speak of the charming of adders and serpents ; and 
nothing, says he, is more notorious than that the eastern Indians 
wUl rid the houses of the most venomous snakes , by charming them 
with the sound of a flute , which calls them out of their holes. These 
anecdotes seem fuDy confirmed by Sir William Jones , in his disser- 
tation on the musical modes of the Hindus. 

''After food, when the operations of digestion and absorption 
give so much employment to the vessels, that a temporary state of 
mental repose must be found, especially in hot climates, essential 
to health , it seems reasonable to believe that a few agreeable airs , 
either heard or played without effort , must have all the good effects 
of sleep, and none of its disadvantages ; putting the soul in tune, 
as Milton says, for any subsequent exertion, an experiment often 
successfully made by myself. I have been assured by a credible eye- 
witness, that two wild antelopes used often to come from their 
woods to the place where a more savage beast , Sir^juddaulah , en- 
tertained himself with concerts, and that they listened to the strains 


wiUi ao appearance of pleasure , till the monster, in whose soul 
there was do music ^ shot one of them to display his archery. A 
learned native UM me that he had frequently seen the most yeno- 
mous and malignant snakes leave their hdes upon hearing tunes on 
a flute 9 which , as he supposed , gave them peculiar delight. An in- 
telligent Persian declared he had more than once been present , 
when a celei>rated lutenist, sumamed Bulbul (i. e. the nightingale), 
was playing to a large company, in a grove near Schiraz , where 
he distincUy saw the nightingales trying to vie with the musician , 
sometimes warMing on the trees, sometimes fluttering from branch 
to tMBnch , as if they wished to approach the instrument , and at 
length dropping on the ground in a kind of ecstasy, from which 
they were soon raised , he assured me , by a change in the mode.'' 

Jackson of Exeter, in reply to the question of Dryden , ^^ What 
passion cannot music r^ose or quell? '' sarcastically returns , ^^ What 
passion can music raise or quell?'' Wouki not a savage , who had 
never listened to a musical instrument, feel certain emotions at lis- 
tening to one for the first time? But civilised man is, no doubt , 
particulaiiy affected by associaUon of idoas , as all pieces of na- 
tional music evidentiy prove. . 

Hie Rans des Yaghes, mentioned fef Rousseau in his Dictio- 
nary of Music, Uiough without any thing striking in the compo- 
sition , has such a powerful influence over the Swiss , and impresses 
Ih^n witb so violent a desire to return to their own country, that it is 
(brfaidden to be played in the Swiss regiments , in the French ser- 
vice, on pain of death. There is also a Scotch tune, which has the 
same effect on some of our North Britons. In one of our batUes in 
Calabria , a bagpiper of tiie 78tii Highland reghnent , when tiiie 
light infiintry charged the French , posted himself on the right, and 
remained in his sditary ^tuation during the whole of the batUe , en- 
couraging the men with a famous Highland charging tune ^ and 
actually upon the retreat and complete rout of the French changed it 
loanotiier, equally celebrated in Scotland upon the retreat of and vic- 
tory over an enemy. His next-hand neighbour guarded him so well 
that he escaped unhurt. This was ttie spirit of the '' Last Minstrel ," 
wlio infused courage among his countrymen , by possessing it in so 
animated a degree , and in so venerable a character. 


The Iliad of Homer in a nutshell, which Pliny says that Cicero 
once saw, it is pretended might have b^n a fact , however to some 
it may appear impossible. jElian notices an artist who wrote a distich 
in letters of goM , which he enclosed it ttie rind of a grain of corn. 


Antiquity and modern times record many such penmen , whose 
glorj consisted in writing in so small a hand ttiat the writing cooM 
not be legible to the naked eye. Menage mentions , he saw whole 
sentences which were not percep^e to the eye without the mi- 
croscope ^ pictures and portraits which appeared at first to be lines 
and scratches thrown down at random ^ one formed the face of tbe 
Dauphiness with the most correct resemblance. He read an Italian 
poem, in praise oi this princess , containing some thousand yerses, 
written by an officer in a space of a foot and a half. This species of 
curious idleness has not been lost in our own country; where this 
minute writing has equalled any on record. Peter Bales , a cele- 
brated caligrapher in the reign of Elizabeth , astonished th^ eyes of 
beholders by showing ttiem what they could not see *, for in the 
Harleian MSS. 530 , we have a narrative of " a rare piece of work 
brought to pass by Peter Bales , an Englishman , and a clerk of the 
chancery ;'' it seems by the description to have been the whole 
Bible ^^ in an English walnut no bigger than a hen's egg. The nut 
holdeth the book : there are as many leaves in his little book as the 
great Bible, and he hath written as much In one of his little leaves 
as a great leaf of the Bible." We are told that this wonderftiHy 
unreadable copy of the Bible was '' seen by many thousands.'' There 
is a drawing of the head of Charles I. in the library of St. John's 
College at Oxford, wholly composed of minute written characters, 
which, at a small distance , resemUe the lines of an engraving. The 
lines of the head, and the ruff, are said to contain the book of 
Psalms , the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer. In the British Museum 
we find a drawing representing, the portrait of Queen Anne, not 
much above the size of the hand. On this drawing appear a number 
of lines and scratches , which the librarian assures the marvelling 
spectator includes the entire contents of a Vmi/olio , which on this 
occasion is carried in the hand. 

The learned Huet asserts that ,. like the rest of the world , he con- 
sidered as a fiction the story of that indefatigable trifler who is said 
t3 have inclosed the Iliad in a nutshell. Examining the matter more 
closely, he thought it possible. One day this learned man trifled half 
an hour in demonstrating it. A piece of vellum , about ten inches 
in length and eight in width, pliant and firm , can be fokled up, 
and enclosed in the shell of a large walnut. It can hold in its breadth 
one line, which can contain 30 verses, and in its length 250 lines. 
With a crow-quill the writing can be perfect. A page of this piece of 
vellum wiU then contain 7600 verses , and the reverse as much ; the 
whole 1 5000 verses of the Ilfid. And this he proved by using a piece 
of paper, and with a common pen. The thing is possible to be ef- 
fected ^ and if on any occasion paper should be most excessively 


lare, il may be uaeftil to^know that a volume of matter may be cod- 
laioed in a skigle teaf. 


The learned, after many contests , have at length agreed that the 
numerical figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, usually called Arabic, 
arc of Indian origin. The Aralnans do not pretend to have been 
the inventors or them, but borrowed them from the Indian nations. 
The numeral characters of the Bramins , the Persians , and the Ara- 
tuaos , and oUier eastern nations , are similar. The appear after- 
wards to have been introduced into several European nations, by 
Iheir respective travellers, who returned from the East. They were 
adfflitled into calendars and chronicles , but they were not intro- 
duced into charters, says Mr. Astle, before the sixteenth century. 
The Spaniards , no doubt , derived their use from the Moors who 
invaded them. In 1240 , the Alphonsean astronomical tables were 
made by the order of Alphonsus X. by a Jew, and an Arabian ; they 
used these numerals, from whence the Spaniards contend that they 
were first introduced by them. 

They were not generally used in Germany until the beginning 
of the fourteenth century ^ but in general the forms of the ciphers 
were not permanently fixed there till after the year 1531 . The Rus- 
sians were strangers to them , before Peter the Great had finished 
his travels in the beginning of the present century. 

The origin of these useful characters with the Indians and Ara- 
bians, is attributed to their great skill in. the arts of astronomy and 
of arithmetic , \^hich required more convenient characters than al- 
phabetic letters , for the expressing of numbers. 

Before the introduction into Europe of these Arabic numerals , 
they used alphabetical characters, or Roman numerals. The 
learned author of the Nouveau Traits Diplomatique , the most va- 
luable work on every thing concerning the arts and progress of 
writing , have given some curious notices on the origin of the Ro- 
loan numerals. Originally men counted by their fingers \ thus to 
loark the first four numbers they used an I , which naturally re- 
presents them. To mark the fifth, they chose a Y, which is made 
out by bending inwards the three middle fingers , and stretching 
out only the thumb and the little finger ; and for the tenth they used 
an X, which is a douMe V, one plaqed topsyturvy under the other. 
From this the progression of these numbers is always from one to 
fi^e, and from five to ten. The hundred was signified by the capital 
tetter of that word in Latin C— centum. The other letters D for 500 , 
and M for a 1000, were afterwards added. They subsequently ab- 


iMreviated their dwacters , by placiDg one of these figures befeie 
another ; and the figure of less value before a higher number, de- 
notes that so much may be deducted firom a greater number ; for in- 
stance , IV signifies five less one , that is four ; IX ten less one , that 
is nine ^ but these abbreviations are not found amongst the ancient 
monuments. These numerical letters are still continued by us , in 
the accounts of our Exchequer. 

That men counted originally by their fingers, is no improbal^ 
supposition ; it is still naturally practised by the people. In semi- 
civilised states, small stones have been used, and the e^mologists 
derive the words calculate and calculation from calculus y the 
Latin term for a pebble-stone , and by which they denomuiated their 
counters used for arithmetical computations. 

Professor Ward, in a learned ^Ussertation on this subject in the 
Philosophical Transactions , concludes that it is easier to falsify the 
Arabic ciphers than the Roman alphabetic numerals^ when 1735 is 
dated in Arabic ciphers, if the 3 is only changed, three centuries 
are taken away ^ if the 3 is made mto a 9 and take away the 1, four 
hundred years are added. Such accidents have assuredly produced 
much conRision among our ancient manuscripts, and still do in our 
printed books-, which is the reason that Dr. Robertson in his histo- 
ries has always preferred writing his dates in words, rather than 
confide them to the care of a negligent printer. Gibbon observes , 
that some remarkable mistakes have happened by the word mH. in 
MSS. , which is an abbreviation for soldiers, or for th<msandsy 
and to this blunder he attributes the incredible numbers of martsrr- 
doms, which cannot otherwise be accounted for by historical 


A BBUEP in judicial astrology can now only exist in the people, 
who may be said to have no belief at all \ for mere traditional sen- 
timents can hardly be said to amount to a belief. But a faith in this 
ridiculous system in our country is of late existence^ and was a 
favourite superstition with the Learned. 

When Charles the First was confined , Lilly the astrologer was 
consulted for the hour which would flivour his escape. 

A story, which strongly proves how greatly Charles the Second 
was bigoted to judicial astrology, is recorded in Burnet's History of 
his Own Times. 

The most respectable characters of the age , Sir William Dudgale^ 
Elias Ashmole, Dr. Grew, and others, were members of an astro- 
logical chib. Cottgrevc's character of Foresight , in Love for Love , 


was fhmno onocmiiiHm person , though the humour now is scarcely 

ftyden cast the nativities of his sons ', and , what is remarkable, 
his prediction relating to his son Charles took {riace. This incident 
is of so late a date , one might hope it would haye been cleared up. 

Id 1670, tlie passkm for horoscopes and expounding the stars 
preyailed in France among the first rank. The new-born child was 
asaaUy jHresented naked to the astrologer, who read the first linea- 
menls in its forehead^ and the transTerse lines in its hand, and 
thence wrote down its tatare destiny. Catherine de Medicis brought 
Henry IV. , then a child, to old Nostradamus, whom antiquaries es- 
teem more fcM* his chronicle of Proyence than his yaticinating pow- 
ers. The sight of the reyerend seer, with a beard which ** streamed 
like a meteor in the air,'' terrified the future hero, who dreaded a 
i)uppiDg from so graye a personage. One of these magidans haying 
vsiffedChaiies IX. that he would liye as many days as he should 
torn about on his heels in an hour, standing on one leg , his mc^esiy 
every morning performed that solemn gyration ; the principal oflO- 
cers of the court , the Judges , the chancellors , and generate , like- 
wise , in compliment , standing on one leg and tifrning round ! 

It bas been reported of seyeral Humous for their astrologic skill , 
ttiat they haye suffered a yoluntary dea^ merely to yerifjr their own 
predictions; this has been reported of Cardan, and Burton, the 
author of the Anatomy of Melancholy. 

It is curious to obserye the shifts to which astrologers are put 
when their predictions are not yenfied. Great winds were predicted , 
by a famous adept, about the year 15B6. No unusual storms, howe- 
v^, happened. Bodin, to saye the reputation of the art, applied it 
« ^figure to some revolutions in the state , and of which there 
were instances enough at that moment. Among their lucky and un- 
lucky days, they pretend to giye those of yarious illustrious persons 
and of families. One is yery striking. — Thursday was the unhicky 
day of our Henry VIII. He , his son Edward VI. , Queen Mary, and 
Queen Etisabeth, cdl died on a Thursday! This fact had, no 
doubt , great weight in this controyersy of the astrologers with their 

Lilly, the astiploger, is the Sidrophel of Butter. His Life, written 
by himself, contains so much artless narratiye , and so much pal- 
pable imposture , that it is difficult to know when he is speaking 
what he really belieyes to be the trutti. In a sketch of the state of 
Mtrology in his day, those adepts , whose characters he has drawn , 
were the lowest miscreants of the town. They all speak of each other 
38 rogues and impostors. Such were Booker, Backhouse, Gadbury ; 
inen who gained a liyelihood by practising on the credulity of eyen 


neo of learning so late as in 1650 , nor were they much out of dale 
in the eighteenth century. In Ashmole's Life an account of these 
artful impostors may he found. Most of them had taken the air in 
the pillory, and others had conjured themselves up to the gallows. 
This seems a true statement of facts. But Lilly informs us, that in 
his various conferences witti angels, their voice resembled that of 
the Irish/ 

The work contains anecdotes of the times. The amours of Lilly 
with his mistress are characteristic. He was a very artfhl man, and 
admirably managed matters which required deceptioii and invention . 

Astrology greatly flourished in the time of the civil wars. The 
royalists and the rebels had their astrologers , as well as their sol- 
diers! and the predictions of the former had a great influence over 
the latter. 

On this subject, it may gratify curiosity to notice three or four 
works , which bear an excessive price. The price cannot entirely 
be occasioned by their rarity, and I am induced to suppose that we 
have still adepts , whose faith must be strong , or whose scepticism 
but weak. 

The Chaldean sd^es were nearly put to the rout by a quarto park 
of artillery, fired on them by Mr. John Chamber in 1691. Apollo 
did not use Marsyas more inhumanly than his scourging pen this 
mystical race, and his personalities made them feel more sore. How- 
ever, a Norwich knight , the very Quixote of astrology, arrayed in 
the enchanted armour of his occult authors, encountered this pagan 
in a most stately carousal. He came forth with '*' A Defence of Judi- 
ciall Astrologye , in answer to a treatise lately published by Mr. John 
Chamber. By Sir Christopher Heydon , Knight ; printed at Gam* 
bridge, 1603." This is a handsome quarto of about 500 pages. Sir 
Christopher is a learned writer , and a knight worthy to defend a 
better cause. But his Dulcinea had wrought most wonderfully on 
his imagination. This defence of this fanciful science , if science it 
may be called, demonstrates nothing , while it defends every thing. 
It confutes , according to the knight's own ideas : it alleges a few 
scattered facts in favour of astrological predictions , which may be 
picked up in that immensity of fabling which disgraces history. He 
strenuosly denies, or ridicules, what the greatest writers have said 
against this fanciful art, while he lays great stress on some passages 
from authors of no authority. The most pleasant part is at the close, 
where he defends the art from the objectidns of Mr. Chamber by re- 
crimination. Chamber had enriched himself by medical practice ; 
and when he charges the astrologers with merely aiming to gain a 
few beggarly pence, Sir Christopher catches fire, and shows by his 
quotations, that if we are to despise an art, by its professors at- 


laapmg to subsist on it , or for Ihc objections ivhich may be raised 
against its yital principles , we ought by this argument most heartily 
to despise the medical science and medical men ! He gives here all 
be can coOect against physic and physicians; and from the confes- 
sions of Hippocrates and Galen, Avicenna and Agrippa , medicine 
ifipears to be a vainer science than even astrology ! Sir Christopher 
is a shrewd and ingenious adversary ; but when he says he means 
only to give Mr. Chamber oil for his vinegar, he has totally mistaken 
its quality. 

The defence was answered by Thomas Vicars in his ^^ Madnesse 
of Astrologers." 

Bui the great work is by Lilly ; and entirely devoted to the adepts. 
He defends nothing ; for this oracle delivers his dictum , and details 
every event as matters not questionable. He sits on the tripod^, and 
every page is embellished by a horoscope , which he explains with 
(he utmost facility. This voluminous monument of the folly of the age 
is a (piark) valued at some guineas ! It is entitled , ^^ Christian Astro- 
logy, modestly treated of in three books, by William Lilly, student 
in Astrology, 2nd edition, 1659.'' The most curious part of this 
work is ^' a Catalogue of most astrological authors.'' There is also 
a portrait of thisarch rogue, and astrologer! an admirable illustration 

Lilly's opinions, and his pretended science, were such favourites 
with the age , that the learned Gataker vm>te professedly against 
this popular delusion. LdUy, at the head of his star-expounding 
frieiids , not only formally replied to but persecuted Gataker annually 
in his predictions , and even struck at his ghost , when beyond the 
grave. Gataker died in July, 1654 -, and Lilly having written in his 
aloianack of that year for the month of August this barbarous Latin 

Hoc in tumbojaeet presbyter et nebula / 

Here in this tomb lies a presbyter and a knaTe ! 

he had the impudence to assert that h^ had predicted Gataker's 
death! But the truth is, it was an epitaph like lodgings to let; it 
stood empty ready for the first passenger to inhabit. Had any other 
of that party of any eminence died in that month, it would have 
been as appositely applied to him. But Lilly was an exquisite rogue, 
and never at a fault. Having prophesied in his almanack for 1650 , 
that the parliament stood upon a tottering foundation , when taken 
up by a messenger, during the night he was confined , he contrived , 
to cancel the page, printed off another, and showed his copies 
before the committee, assuring them that the others were none of 
his own , but forged by his enemies. 



Mrs. Thomas , Ihe Gorinna of Dryden , in her Life , had recorded 
one of the delusions of alchymy. 

An infatuated lover of this delusive art met withone who pretended 
to have the power of transmuting lead to gold; that is, in their 
language, the imperfect metals to the perfect one. The hermetic 
philosopher required only the materials, and time, to perform his 
golden operations. He was taken to the country residence of bis 
patroness. A long laboratory was built, and that his labours might 
not be impeded by any disturbance , no one was permitted to enter 
into it. His door was contrived to turn on a pivot; so that, unseen 
and unseeing, his meals were conveyed to him without iistracttng 
the sublime meditations of the Sage. 

During a residence of two years , he never condescended to speak 
but two or three times in the year to his infotuated patroness. Whea 
she was admitted into the laboratory, she saw, with pleasing aslo* 
nishment, stills , immense caldrons, long flues, and three or foar 
Yulcanian fires blazing at dififerent comers of this magical mine; 
nor did she behold with less reverence the venerable figure of the 
dusty philosopher. Pale and emaciated with daily operations wA 
nightly vigils, he revealed to her, in unintelligible jargon, his pro- 
gresses ; and having sometimes condescended to explain the mysl^ 
ries of the arcana , shis beheld , or seemed to bdiold , streams of fioid 
and heaps of solid ore scattered around the laboratory. Sometimes 
he required a new still, and sometimes vast quantities of lead. Al- 
ready this unfortunate lady had expended the half of her fortune 
in supplying the demands of the philosopher. She began now to 
lower her imagination to the standard of reason. Two years had now 
elapsed, vast quantities of lead had gone in, and nothing but lead 
had come out. She disclosed her sentiments to the philosopher. He 
candidly confessed he was himself surprised at his tardy processes; 
but that now he would exert himself to the utmost, and that he 
would venture to perform a laborious operation, which hitherto he 
had hoped not to have been necessitated to employ. His patroness 
retired , and the golden visions resumed all their lustre. 

One day, as they sat at dinner, a terrible shriek, and one crack 
followed by another, loud as the report of cannon , assailed flieir 
ears. They hastened to the laboratory ; two of the greatest stills had 
burst, and one part of the laboratory and the house were in flames. 
We are told that , after another adventure of this kind, this victim 
to alchymy, after ruining another patron , in despair swallowed 


Eten more recenlly we hate a history of an alchymist in the life 
of Romney , the painter. This alchymist , after bestowing much time 
and money on preparations for the grand projection , and being near 
the decisiye hour, was induced ^ by the too earnest request of his 
wife, to quit his ftimace one eyening , to attend some of her com- 
pany at tke tea-table. Wtiile the projector was attending the ladies , 
his fiimace blew up! In consequence of this eyent, he conceived 
sieh an antipathy against his wife, that he tould not endure the 
idea oT liTini^ with her again. 

Henry YI. , Erelyn obserres in his Numismata, endeavoured to 
reemit his empty coffers by alchymy. The record of this singular 
proposition contains ^^ the most solemn and serious account of the 
fMMIity and virtues of ttie philosopher's stone , encouraging the 
search after it, and dispensing with all statutes and prohibitions to 
the contrary." This record was probably communicated by Mr. Sel- 
den to bis beloved (Hend Ben Jonaon, when the poet was writing 
his comedy of the Alchymist. 

Alter this patent was published , many promised to answer the 
king^s expectations so effectually, that the next year he published 
another patent; wherein he tells his subjects , that the liappy hour 
was drawing nigh , and by means of the stone, which he should 
soon be master of, he would pay all the debts of the nation in real 
gold and siluer. The persons picked out for his new operators were 
as remarkable as the patent itself, being a most '*• misceUaneousrab^ 
Ue^^ of fHars, grocers, mercers, and fishmongers ! 

This patent was likewise granted authoritate Parliamenti; and 
is given by Prynne in his Aurum Regince, p. 135. 

Alchymists were formerly called muhipliers, sliliongh they never 
could multiply; as appears ft'om a statute of Henry lY. repealed in 
the preceding record. 

"None from henceforth shall use to multiply gold or silver, or 
use the craft of multiplication: and if any the same do, he shall 
incur the pain of felony.'' Among the articles charged on the Pro- 
tector Somerset is this extraordinary one ; — ^^ You commanded mul- 
tiplication and alcumestry to be practised, thereby to abate the 
king's coin.''' Slowe , p. 601. What are we to understand? Did they 
believe that alchymy would be so productive of the precious metals 
as to abate the value of the coin; or does multiplication refer to 
an arbitrary rise in the currency by order of the government? 

Every philosophical mind must be convinced that alchymy is not 
an art, which some have fancifully traced to the remotest times; 
it may be rather regarded , when opposed to such a distance of time , 
as a modem imposture. CsBsar commanded the treatises of alchymy 


to be burnt throughout the Roman dominions : Caesar, who is not 
less to be admired as a philosopher than as a monarch. 

Mr. Gibbon has this succinct passage relatiye to alchymy : ^' The 
ancient books of alchymy, so liberally ascribed to Pythagoras , to 
Solomon , or to Hermes , were the pious firauds of mwe recent 
adepts. The Greeks were inattentive either to the use or ihe abuse 
of chemistry. In that immense register where Pliny has deposited 
the discoyeries , the arts , and the errors of mankind , there is not 
the least mention of the transmutations of metals, and the perse- 
cution of Dioclesiao is the first authentic etent in the histonr of 
alchymy. The conquest of Egypt by the Arabs diflTused that vain 
science over the globe. Congenid to the ayarice of the human heart, 
it was studied in China, as in Europe, with equal eagerness and 
equal success. The darkness of the midcBe ages ensured a fayour- 
able reception to every tale of wonder ; and the reyival of teaming 
gave new vigour to hope, and suggested more specious arts to de- 
ception. Philosophy, with the aid of experience, has at length 
banished the study of alchymy^ and the present age, however 
desirous of nches , is content to seek them by the humbler means 
of commerce and industry.'' 

Elias Ashmole writes in his diary— '^ May 13, 1653. My fiither 
Backhouse (an astrologer who had adopted him for his son, a 
common practice with these men) lying sick in Flee^treet,over 
against St. Dunstan's church , and not knowing whether he sboold 
live or die, about eleven of the dock, told me in syllables the 
true matter of the philosopher's sUfiw > which he bequeathed to 
me as a legacy.'' By this we learn that a miserable wretch knew 
the art of making gold, yet always lived a beggar-, and that 
AshnK)le really imagined he was in possession of the syllables of a 
secret! He has, however, built a curious monument of the learned 
follies of the last age, in his "Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum." 
Though Ashmole is rather the historian of this vain science than an 
adept, it may amuse literary leisure to turn over this quarto vo- 
lume, in which he has collected the works of several English alchy- 
misls, subjoining his commentary. It affords a curious specimen of 
Rosicrucian mysteries •, and Ashmole relates several miraculous sto- 
ries. Of the philosopher's stone , he says he knows enough to hold 
his tongue, but not enough to speak. This stone has not only the 
power of transmuting any imperfect earthy matter into its utmost 
degree of perfection , and can convert the basest metals into gold, 
flints into stone, etc. \ but it has till more occult virtues, when 
the arcana have been entered into by the choice fathers of hermetic 
mysteries. The vegetable stone has power over the natures of man, 
beast , fowb , fishes , and all kinds of trees and plants , to make them 


dottrisli and bear Ihiit at any time. The magieal stone dtocoyers 
any person wherever he is concealed; while the angelical stone 
fifes (be iqpparitions of angels , and a power of conversing with 
tai. These great mysteries are supported by occasional facis , 
and ifiuBtraled by prints of the most divine and incomprehensible 
designs, which we would hope were intelligible to the initiated. It 
DMy be worth showing , however, how liable even the latter were 
toUunder on these mysterious hieroglyphics. Ashmole, in one of 
hiscbenucal works , prefixed a frontispiece , which , in several com- 
partments, ^chibited Phoebus on a lion , and opposite to him a lady, 
^ represented Diana, with the moon in one hand and an arrow 
in tlie other, sitting on a crab; Mercury on a tripod, with the 
scheme of the heavens in one hand , and his caduceus in the other. 
These were intended to express the materials of the stone, and the 
season for the process. Upon the altar is tlie bust of a man , his 
bead covered by an astrological scheme dropjped from the clouds ; 
and on the altar are these words , "Mercuriophilus Anglicus,'' i. e. 
tbeEnghsh lover of hermetic philosophy. There is a tree, and a 
litfle creature gnawing the root, a pillar adorned with musical and 
matttematical instruments , and another with military ensigns. This 
strange compositioii created great inquiry among the chemical sages. 
Deep mysteries were conjectured to be veiled by it. Verses were 
written m the highest strain of the Rosicrucian language. Ashmole 
conlKsed he meant nothing more than a kind oipun on liis own 
name, for tree v^as the ashy and the creature was a mole. One 
pSlat (ells his love of inusic and fireemasonry, and the other his 
military preferment and astrological studies! He afterwards regret- 
ted (bat no one added a second volume to his work, from which he 
himself had been hindered , for the honour of the family of Hermes, 
and ''to show the world what excellent men we had once of our 
nation , famous for this kind of philosophy, and masters of so trans- 
cendent a secret." 

Modem chemishry is not without a hope, not to say a certainty, 
of verifying the golden visions of the alchymists. Br. Girtanner, of 
Gottingen , not long ago adventured the foUowing prophecy : '' In 
the nineteenth century the transmutation of metals will be gene- 
rally known and practised. Every chemist and every artist will 
make go/J; kitchen utensils will be of silver, and even gold; which 
will contribute more than any thing else to prolong life, poisoned 
at present by the oxides of copper, lead , and iron , which we daily 
swaBow with oar food." Phil. Mag. Vol. VI. p. 383. This sublime 
chemist, though he does not venture to predict that universal elixir, 
which is to prolong life at pleasure , yet approximates to it. A che- 
nucal friend writes to me , that " The metals seem to be compo- 

I. 16 


'' The Three Daughters of Job/' which is a treatiseon the three vir- 
tues of patience , fortitude , and pain. ^' The innocent Love, or tbe 
Holy Knight , '' is a description of the ardours of a saint of tbe 
Virgin. " The Sound of the Trumpet," is a work on the day of 
judgment -, and ^^ A Fan to drive away Flies ,'' is a theological txest- 
tlse on purgatory. 

We must not write to the utter neglect of our title; and a fiv 
author shouldhave the literary piety of eyer having ^' the fear oflii» 
title-page before his eyes/' The following are improper titles. I>oo 
Matthews, chief huntsman to Philip IV. of Spain , entitled his book 
" The Origin and Dignity of the Royal House," but the entire 
work relates only to hunting. De Ghantereine composed several mo- 
ral essays, which being at a loss how to entitle, he called ^'The 
Education of a Prince." He would persuade the reader in his pre- 
face , that though they were not composed with a view to this sub- 
ject , they should nqt , however, be censured for the title, as tbey 
partly related to the education of a prince. The world were too saga- 
cious to be duped ; and the author in his second edition acknowled- 
ges the absurdity, drops '' the magnificent title ," and calls his work 
'^ Moral Essays." Montaigne's immortal history of his own mind, 
for such are his ^' Essays ," has assumed perhaps too modest a title 
and not sufficiently discriminative. Sorlin equivocally entitled a cd- 
4ection of essays, ^^ The Walks of Richelieu," because they weie 
composed at that place ; ^^ the Attic Nights " of Auius Gellius were 
so called , because they were written in Attica. Mr. Took, in bii 
graounatical '^ Diversions of Purley, must have deceived many, i 

A rodomontade title-page was once a great favourite. There ^las 
a time when the repuMic of letters was over-built with '*• Palaces | 
of Pleasure ," " Palaces of Honour," and " Palaces of Eloquence;" 
with ^' Temples of Memory," and '' Theatres of Human Life ,'' and 
'' Amphitheatres of Providence ; " ^' Pharoses, Gardens, Pictures^ 
Treasures." The epistles of Guevara dazzled the public eye with 
their splendid title, for they were called ^' Golden Epistles ^ " and 
the " Golden Legend " of Voragine had been nuwre appropriatdf 
.entitled leaden. 

They were once so fond of novelty, that every book recommende* 
itself by such tiUes as '* A new Method-, new Elements of Geome- 
Iry ; the new Letter Writer, and the new Art of Cookery." 

To excite the curiosity of the pious , some writers employed a^ 
llfices of a very ludicrous nature. Some made their titles rhymiog 
echoes ^ as this one of a father, who has given Ms works undei 
the title of Scales Alee animi: and Jesus esus nov^us Orbis, Sonw 
have distributed them according to the measure of time , as oac 
Father Nadasi , the greater pari of whose works are years, moaths 


wffefo, dagrs, and Aour^. Some have borrowed their UOes from 
the parls of tbe body ^ and others have used quaint expressions, such 
as , — Think before you leap — We must all die — Compel them 
to enter. Some of our pious authors appear not to have been aware 
(hat they were burlesquing religion. One Massieu having written a 
DKNral expianatlon of the solenm anthems sung in Advent , which 
begin with the letter O, published this work under the punning title 
of La douce MoeUe ,etla Saussefriande des os Savoureux de 

The Marquis of Caraccioli assumed the ambiguous title of La 
Jouissance de soi-m^me. Seduced by the epicurean title-page of 
self eojoyinent , the sale of the work was continual with the liber- 
tines, who however, ftmnd nothing Jbut very tedious essays on religion 
and morality. In the sixth edition the marquis greatly exults in his 
soecessftil contriyance ; by which means he had punished the vicious 
curiosity of certain persons, and perhaps had persuaded some , whom 
oOicrwise his i>ook might never have reached. 

If a title f>e obscure , it raises a prejudice against the author-, we 
are apt to suppose that an ambiguous title is the effect of an intricate 
or confused mind. Baillet censures the Ocean Macro-micro-cosmick 
<rfone Sa€tis, To understand this title, a grammarian would send 
an inquirer to a geographer, and he to a natural philosopher -, neither 
woold probably think of recurring to a physician , to inform one 
thai this ambiguous title signifies the connexion which exists between 
the motion of the waters with that of the blood. He censures Leo 
AHatius for a title which appears to me not inelegantly conceived. 
This writer has entitled one of his books tbe Urban Bees ,* it is an 
account of those illustrious writers who flourished during the pon- 
tificate of oae of the Barberinis. The allusion refers to the bees 
which were the arms of this family , and Urfwn YIII. is (be Pope 

The fohe idea which a title conveys is alike prejudicial to the 
^KOlhor wad the reader. Titles are generally too prodigal of their pro- 
fxiises , and thdr auttiors are contemned ; but the works of modest 
authors, though they present more than they promise, may fail of 
^Uracting notice by their extreme simplicity. In either case , a col- 
lector of books is prejudiced; he is induced to collect what merits 
KK> attention, or he passes over those valuable works whose titles 
nay not happen to be interesting. It is related of Pinelli , the cele- 
brated cc^ector of books, that the booksellers permitted him to 
remain hours , and son^etimes days , in their shops to examine 
iKM>ks before he purchased. He was desirous of not injuring his 
^ecious collection by useless acquisitions ; but he confessed 
that be sometimes could not help being dazzled by magnificent 


titles , Bor bdng mislaken by the simplidty of others , wliich 
bad been chosen by the modesty of th^ authors. AHer all, msDj 
authors are really neither so Tain, nor so honest, as they appear; 
ibr magnificent, or simple titles, ha?e often been gi^en firom the 
difl&culty of forming any others. 

It is too onen with the Titles of Books, as with those painted 
representations exhibited by the keepess of wild beasts^ where, in 
general, ttie picUire itself is made more strttdngaiid inviting to the 
eye , than the inclosed animal is always found to be. 


The Greeks composed lypogrammatic works ; works itf whidi 
one letter of the a^Dhabet is omitted. A lypogrammatist is a letter- 
dropper. In this manner TrypModorus wrote his Odyssey : he had 
not a in his first book , nor fi in his second ; and so on with ^ 
subsequent letters one after another. This Odyssey was an imita- 
tion of the lypogrammatic Iliad of Nestor. Among other works of 
this kind , Athemeus mentions an ode by Pindar, in which be had 
purposely omitted ttie letter S *, so that this inept ingenuity appears 
to have been one of those literary fashions which are sometiines 
encouraged even by those who should first oppose such progresses 
into the realms of nonsense. 

There is in Latin a littie prose work of Fnlgentius, which the 
author divides into twenty-three chapters , according to the order of 
the twenty-three letters of tiie Latin alphabet. From A toO arestiH 
remaining. The first chapter is without A; tee second without B; 
the third wiUioui C ^ and so with the rest. There are five novels in 
prose of Lope de Yega -, the first without A , the second without E^ 
the third without I , etc. Who will attempt to verify them? 

The Orientalists are not without this literary folly. A Persian poet 
read to the celebrated Jami a gasel of his own composition, which 
Jami did not like *, but tiie writer replied, it was notwithslaiidliig a 
very curious sonnet , for the/etter.<^£2<^wasnoitobefoundinany 
one of the words ! Jami saroasticdly replied , ^^ You can do a better 
thing yet ; take away aU the letters Drora every word yea bafre 
written. ' 

To these works may be added the Ecloga de Co/i/i^^ by Huf^ 
the monk. All tiie words of this silly work begin witii a C. It ^ 
printed in Bomavius. Pugna Porcorum^ all the words beginning 
with a P. in tiie Nugae Yenales. Camun cum cams certamen; the 
words beginning with a G : a performance of die same kind in the 
same work. Gregorio Leti presented a discourse to die Academy of 
Uie Humorists, at Rome, throughoui which he had purposdy omitted 

LmtLAM fOLMB9. 24T 

Mie fetter Ry m0l h& tmmhi ik the enttoct R. ▲ ftMMl< ha^«ii» 
raynsMaiMpy, m k li to wy cirieskyy fiMr 8» he coBBtdeired tkto 
Mte perforanMe , Ii«tt, to skow ttM tMi» 
fq^M ferf » co|iiM» a n w rer of sttev paefl^, in which he had 0i>« 
femi ttoMM fefiM Mraciflw ilgaiiM Ito 
iv lie«DW« ef Jamai l.y fev ipvvittes » M ef SoMels y eMh of wU 
lefiH wlOf t gOMM^ fctter df «to aipMket The Eani df Rivatti 
farfterefgnofSdHMaiY. ttOBtoMlteMoraJbPreteriWof GM9- 
liw of PM^ a fKHtm el atoid; tsto faundned Mei^, the greatest 
pvteTwhkh he^eraa^ivedio^coMfliiie wMr tie teller £, an ik»^ 
df U»l0MMi]^Vhttt anillcatiDn, and (he had tatle of an age whiehy 
Wl OrfMtfeSserresy kud nMotaM mtf fMan^lO'idniggle wifll*, 
«ii€B an igaomioe; 

II has been well obseryed of these minute triflers , that extreiatf 
fflmamm to- taae sMtane of fbola, whese> iaboim itiay be n^ 
oMy hiv the iaa ga^ eof DrydMr, 

** fiaag* -without birtli, and fruitlesft mdattrj.** 

Twcpe Mt difficUes habere nugas, 
Kir jtulW Ubor esT ineptlatoiU. 

TU-a foil; to fweat o*er a difficult trifle, 
Ind for siHy dericet inTeotioii to rifle. 

I shaD not dwell on the wits who compoaedferaes ia the fioraaaoi 
^i^arts, wings, altars, and true-lofe knots ^ or as Ben Jonson des- 
<:ribe8 their grotesque shapes, 

•* i^ ^ift o^ idMMi ittd if tioiflb^ in' ^elrto<" 

Tom Nash , who loTed to push the ludicrous to its exArome , in 
hs amusing InTeottye against the^ctasicaL Gabriel Harvey, tells us 
^i'^ be had writ verses in all kinds; in form of a pair of gloves , 
^pHlraf «|^eiiBtiidleiii, and^tf faftrotpetmoolais etCi ' They 9tfe not 
InsafeB«id> wlioe)C|^osel» puMeridiiBale tM name of thekr mistkiesv 
byemployiDg itrto femr llleA^ actfostids^ I havte seen ^dttie of the 
Mter, where baih sides and cross-^vi^s, the name of the mistress 
^ ^ pakron has been sent dovm to posterity with eternal torture, 
^'^here one name la made outpour times in the same acrostic , 
^ great difficulty must have bee» lo^ have found wonds by which 
^ letters forming the name should be forced to stand in their 
WJWar places. » miKht be UicredtMe that so great a gdniiwas 


of the most gigantic of acrostics may be seen in his works , it is a 
poem of fifty cantos ! Ginguen^ has luresenred a specimen in his 
literary History of Italy, yol. IH. p. 64. Puttenham, in "The Art 
of Poesie, " p. 75, gi^es several odd specimens of poems in the 
forms of lozenges , rhomixiYds , pillars , etc. Puttenham has contrived 
lo form a defence for describing and making such trifling devices. 
He has done more : he has erected two pillars himsdf to the honour 
of Queen EUzabeth ; every pillar consists of a base of eight syllables, 
the shaft or middle of four, and the capital is equal with the base. 
The only difference between the two pillars consists in this ^ in the 
one " ye must read upwards, " and in the other the reverse. These 
pillars , notwithstanding this fortunate device and variation , may 
be fixed as two columns in the porch of the vast temple of literary 

It was at this period when wonls or verse were tortured into 
such fantastic forms, that the trees in gardens were twisted and 
sheared into obelisks and giants, peacocks, or flower-pots. In a 
copy of verses, *' To a hair of my mistress's eye-lash, '* the merit, 
next to the choice of the subject , must have been the arrangement, 
or the disarrangement, of the whole poem into the form of a heart. 
With a pair of wings many a sonnet fluttered , and a sacred hymn 
was expressed by the mystical triangle. Acrostics are .formed flroiD 
the initial letters of every verse ^ but a different conceit regulated 
chronofframs^ which were used to describe dates^he numeral 
letters, in whatever part of the word they stood , were distinguished 
from other letters by being written in capitals. In the GDflowiDg 
chronogram from Horace , 

-^feriam tidera verdce , 

by a strange elevation of capitai^ the chronogrammatist compels 
even Horace to give the year of our Lord thus. 

—feriaM tiDera Yertloe. MDTI. 

The Acrostic and the Chronogram are both ingeniously described 
in the mock Epic of the Scribleriad. The initial letters of the 
acrostics are thus alluded lo in the literary wars : ^ 

Firm tnd compact, in three fair columns wove, 
O'er the smooth plain, the bold acrotties move: 
High o'er the rest, the towbriho i^ADiMrise 
With limis gigantic, and superior tbta. 

But the looser character of the chronogram, and the disorder 
in which they are found , are ingenioi^y sung thus : — 


Hot dmi the hostr ckronogrwiu prepare. 
Careless their troops, undisciplined to war*; 
With ranA irrtguiar, confuted tbej stand , 
The cBXBrrAQis mxhouiig with the vulgar band. 

He afterwards adds others of the illegitunate race of wit: — 

To join these sqnadroas , o*er the rhampaigB cane 
A nmnerons race of no ignoble name ; 
Riddle and Rebus, Riddle's dearest son , 
JkaA false Conundrum and insidious Pun, 
Fustian, who scarcely deigns to tread the ground. 
And Rondeau, wbeeliiig fai repeated ronnd. 
On their fair standards, hj the wind display'd, 
-Sgg^t altars, wings, pipes, axes, were pourtray*d. 

I find the origin ot Bouts-rimes , or ^^ Rhyming Ends/' in 
Goajefs Bib. Fr. xvi. p. 181. One Dulot, a foolish poet, when 
sonnets were in demand , had a singular custom of preparing the 
rfajmes of these poems to be flUed up at his leisure. Having been 
robbed of his papers , he was regretting most the loss of three 
hundred sonnets : his friends were astonished that he had written 
so many which they had never heard. ** They were blank sonnets,'^ 
he replied ; and explained the mystery by describing his Bouts- 
rimes. The idea appeared ridiculously amusing,* and it soon became 
fashionable to collect the most difficult rhymes, and fill up the 

'Hie Charade is of recent birth , and I cannot discover the origin 
of this species of logogriphes. It was not known in France so late as 
in 1771 ; in the great Dictionnaire de Tr^voux, the term appears 
only as the name of an Indian sect of a military character. lis 
mystical conceits have occasionally displayed singular fehcity. 

Anagraf^K were another whimsical invention \ with the letters 
of any name they contrived to make out some entire word , descrip- 
tive of the character of the person who bore the name. These 
anagrams, therefore, were either satirical or complimentary. When 
in flashion, lovers made use of them continually : I have read of 
one , whose mistress's name was Magdalen , for whom he compos- 
ed, not only an Epic under that name , but as a proof of his passion, 
one day he sent her three dozen of anagrams ail on her lovely 
name. Scioppius imagined himself fortunate that his' adversary 
Scaliger was perfecly Sacrilege in all the oblique cases of the 
Latin language^ on this principle Sir John Wiat was made out, 
to his own satisfoction — a wU. They were not always correct when 
a great compliment, was required ; the poet John Cles^eland was 
strained hard to make Heliconian dew. This literary trifle has , 


however, tn our own times ,, produeed. several , equally ingenious 
and caustic. 

Yerses of grotesque shapes have somettmes been contrived to 
convey ingenious thoughts. Pannard, a modem French poet, has 
tortured his agreeable vehi of poetry into^soeh form». He has made 
some of his Bacchanalian songs take the figure of bottles , and others 
of glasses. These ofjeets^re perfectlydrawn^by the various measures 
^f the verses which form the songs. He has also introduced an echo 
in his verses which he contrive so as not to ii^ure their sense. This 
was practised by the old French bards in the age of Mapoi, and this 
poetical whim is ridiculed by Butler in his HudibFas, Part I. Canto 3. 
Verse 190. 1 give an ex imple of these poetical echoes. The follow- 
ing ones are ingenious , lively , and satirical : — 

\ PtMir iioa»plnrr, on pUwMi 

) Mm 

Tout ea nsago : 
Mtis on troiire sonvent 

Dtes aoaiUagage. 

Oo f Tok des Commtf 


Comme des princei , 

Apr^ 4tre vanar 


De leors Proviaces. 

The poetical whim of Cretin , a French poet , brought into fashion 
pnmitng or equivocal rhymes. Maret thus addressed him in his own 
way: — 

L*lioiiiiiie, sotart, ek ntm scatwu 
Comma an Rotissour, qui lave oye, 
Lk Ikoto d'autmi, nonce ovum 
Qn'U !■ oognoiMti o«.fM')pfAi iio^,.«tb. 

In these lines of D'u Bartias , this poet imaginedf that he imitated 
the harmonious notes of the lark : '^ the sound'' is here , however^ 
not *•' an echo to the sense.'' 

Ii* gentilU alociette, w%c turn tfreliro, 
TiNtire, k Ure,. et lireliraa tara>, 
Ten la route dn del , pnU son toI vert ce lieu, 
Vire et desire dire adieu Dien, adieu Dieu. 

TheFwuGh have an ingenious kind^(^NMi93B§§ Terses csAed 
AmpfUgonrie, This word is composed of a^Greek adveiH signifying 
ab9ut, sold of a substantive signifying a circle. The foUbwing is a- 
specimen , elegant in fftie selection «f words , and what Hie Freiioh 


calkd ricUy rfaymed, but ia tad tbey we fin* venes vithout aaj 
imuao^ whatever. Pope's Stanzas, said to be writlen by a person 
qfguaJity, to ridicule tiie tuneful nonsense of certain bards, wod 
wbich Gilbert Widtefield mistook tor a serioofi composition, and 
wiole tva j^agu^ of CommeBtarj to prove this song was ^jointed, 
obscure , aad abeurd , is an eieeUent 4>eciineii of tbase Amphi^ 

Qa*il est heorevx de m dtfendre 
Qoaiid fo ooar ne s*ett pu mdo ! 
Mau qii*Il ail f Mieac do m readre 
Qoaad le Wnhtnr t«t nucendn t 
Par SB discoun tans suite at tmdre , 
]|^ares nn conir ^perdo ; 
SooTMit par an mal-entenda . 
L*amaiit adroit ae lait eulOBdre. 

How happj to defiHid oar koart, 
Wben LoTO baa narar lliroiws a dart! 
But ah I imhappj wiicn it bends, 
If pleasure bar aoft blisa anspandsl 
Sweet in a wisd diRndered scvaan^ 
A lost and wandering heart tn gain ! 
Oft in mistaken luguage wooed 
The skiUul lorar's oaderstood. 

These verses harre sueb a lesOTiblance to meaning, tliai Fontenelle 
bavisg listened to fhe song imagined that lie had- a glimpse of sense, 
and requested to have it repeated. '' Don't yon perceive,'' said 
Madame de Tencia , ^'that; they are Nonsense Verses?'^ The ma- 
licioas irit retorted, ^^ They are so miich like the fine verses I have 
heani beie,. that itis not surprising i should be for once mistaken." 

In: tbe ^^ScriUeriad'^ we find agood aecounl of t^? Cento . A 
Cento piimarily signifies a cloak made of patdhesrin poetry it 
dsnotet an work wholijc eomposed of verses , or passages promis- 
cnoosly taken finom other authors , only tBsposed inanew form or 
ordor, soas to cowpose a new work and a new meaning. Ausonius 
ba&laid dowa the rules to be observed im eomposing Centos* The 
pieces may be taken either firom the same poet, or trom several^ 
and the verses may be either taken entife, or divided into two;one 
half to be connected vrittir another half tidcen elsewhere-, but' two 
voBses are never to be taken together. Agreeable to these rules he 
has made a pleasant nuptial Cento from Yirgili 

The BnqiresB EudDiia^ vrrote the Itfe of Jesus Onrist in centos 
Utokfrom Homer, Piob&Fatoonia fhmi Yiri^ Among these grave 
Uitanmaji be mentioned'idex'nder Moss , who published ^^ Virgin 


lius Evangelizans, sive Historia Domini et Salvatoris nostri Jcsu 
Gbristi Virgiiianis verbis et versibug descripta." It was republished 
iQ 1769. 

A more difficult whim is that of '' Reciprocal Verses y' which 
giye the same words whether read backwards or forwards. The 
foDowiQg lines by Sidonius Apoliinaris were once infinitely admired ; 

'< Signa te signa ttmere me tangis et angis.** 
'* Romm Hbi subito motibus iMt wnor^ 

The reader has only to take the pains of reading the lines backwards, 
and he will find himself just where he was after all his fatigue. 

Capitaine Lasphrise , a French self-taught poet , boasts of his 
inventions ; among other singularities , one has at least the merit oi 
la difficulte uaincue. He asserts this novelty to be entirely his own ^ 
the last word of every verse forms the first word of the following 

F«]loiti-il qae lo ciel me rendtt amonreiiz, 
Amonreux, jouisAant d'oiie beant^ crtintiTe , 
CraintiTe t recevoir la douceur excessire, 
ExceMive aa plaiiir qui rend raman^ henrenz; 
Heureuz si nous ayions quelquet paisibles liens, 
Lienx oh pins sikrement Tami fiddle aniTe, 
ArrtTe sans sonp^on de quelqne axne attentiTe , 
Attentire k vouloir nous surprendre tons denx.— - 

Francis Ck^nna, an Italian Monk, is the author of a singular 
book entitled '^ The dream of Poliphilus ," in which he relates his 
amours with a lady of the name of Polia. It was considered improper 
to prefix his name to the work *, but being desirous of marking it by 
some peculiarity, that he might claim it at any distant day, he contrnr-* 
ed that the initial letters of every chapter shoukl be formed of those 
of his name , and of the subject he treats. This strange invention 
was not discovered tUl many years afterwards : when the wits «n- 
ployed themselves in deciphering it, unfortunately it became a 
source of literary altercation , being susceptible of various readings. 
The correct appears thus : Poliam Frater FRAwascus Columna 
PERAMAVIT. " Brothw Francis Colonna passionately loved Polia." 
This gallant monk , like another Petrarch , made the name of his 
mistress the subject of his amatorial meditations *, and as the first 
called his Laura , his Laurel , this called his Polia , his Polita. 

A few years afterwards Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus employed 
a similar arUflce in his Zodiacus Vita , *' The Zodiac of Life ;" 
the initial letters of the first twenty-nine verses of the first Book of 
this poem forming his name , which curious particular was probably 
unknown to Warton in his account of this work.— The performance 


isditided into twelye books, but has no reference to astronomy, 
which we might naturally expect. He distinguished his twelve books 
by the twelve names of the celestial signs , and probably extended 
or confined them purposely to that number, to humour his fancy. 
Warton hov^ever observes, ^^ this strange pedantic title is not totally 
without a conceit, as the author was born at Stellada or Stellata, 
a province of Ferrara , and fh)m whence he called himsdf Mar- 
cellus Palingenius Stellatus/' The work itself is a curious satire on 
the Pope and the Church of Rome. It occasioned Bayle to commit 
a remarkable literary blunder, which I shall record in its place. 
Of Italian conceit in those times , of which Petrach was the father, 
with his pei^tual play on words and on his Laurel , or his mistress 
Laura, he has himself afforded a remarkable example. Our poet 
k)6t his mother, who died in her thirty-eighth year : he has comme- 
morated her death by a sonnet composed of thirty-eight lines. He 
seems to have conceived that the exactness of the number was ' 
equally natural and tender. 

Are we not to class among literary Jollies the strange researches 
which writers , even of the present day, have made in Aniedihivian 
times? Forgeries of the grossest nature have been alluded to, or 
quoted as authorities. A booh of Enoch once attracted considerable 
attention^ this curious forgery has been recently translated : the 
Sabeans pretend they possess a work written by Adam! and this 
work has been recently appealed to in fovour of a visionary theory ! 
Asfle gravely observes, that ^^ with respect to Writings attributed 
to the Antediluvians, it seems not only decent but rational to say 
that we knov^ nothing concerning them.'' Without alluding to living 
writers, IH*. Parsons, in his erudite '' Remains of Japhet," tracing 
the origin of the alphabetical character, supposes that letters ytete 
known to Adam ! Some too have noticed astronondcal libraries in 
the Ark of Noah! Such historical memorials are the deliriums of 
learning, or are founded on forgeries. 

Hugh Broughton , a writer of controversy in the reign of James 
the First , shows us in a tedious discussion on Scripture chronology, 
that Rahab was a hariot at ten years of age ; and enters into many 
grave discussions concerning the colour of Aaron's Ephod, and the 
language which Eve first spoke. This writer is ridiculed in Ben 
JoDson's Comedies : — ^he is not without rivals even in the present 
day! Govamivias, after others of his school, discovers that when 
male children are born they cry out with an A , being the first vowel 
of the word Adam , whUe the female infants prefer the letter E , in 
allusion to Eve ,* and we may add that , by the pinch of a negligent 
nurse, they may probably learn all their vowels. Of the pedantic 
triflings of commentators , a controversy among the Portuguese on 


the woita of Caoioeiis is not the least. Some of these prdound crtties 
who affected greait delicacy in the laws of Epic poetrjr, pretaided to 
he douhtdil whether the poet had fixed oa the right tine fiNr a 
king's dream; whether, said they, aslting^ould have apropitio« 
dream on \m first going to bed or at 'ttie denvn of the foUcfwing 
morning? No one seeined to he quite certain ; they puzded each 
other till Ihe controversy closed in tins felicitoos manner, and satis- 
fied both the sight and the dawn cr^cs. Banreto discovered that an 
accent on one of the words allnded to in tiie controversy would 
answer the purpose , and iyy making king Manuefs dream to take 
place at the dawn would restore Camoens lo their good opinion , and 
preserve the dignity of the poet. 

Ohevreau begins his History of ^ World in these words : ^^ Se- 
veral learned men have examined in what season God created the 
wcnrld, though there could hardly be any season then , stoce there 
was no sun, no moon , nor stars. But as the world must have been 
created in one of the four seasons, this question has exercised the 
talents of file most curious, and (^mions are various. Some say it 
was in the month of Nisan, thiA is , in the Sfnring : others matotaia 
that it was in the month of Tisriy which begins the civil year of file 
Jews , and ttiat it was on the sixth dcvf of this month , which an- 
swers to our September, that Adam and Eve were created , and 
that it was on a Friday, a little after four o'clock in tiie altomoon ! *' 
This is according to the Rabbinical notion of the eve of the sab- 

The Irish antiquaries mention puMic libraries that were belbre 
tiie flood ; and Paul Christian Ilsker, with profounder erudition, has 
given an exact catalogue of Adam's. Messieurs O'Flaherty, O'Con- 
nor , and O'HaHoran , have most gravdy recorded as authentic nar- 
rations the wildest legendary traditions ; and more recently, to make 
confljsion donUy confounded, others have built up what they catt 
theoretical histories on these nursery tales. By which species of blade 
art ttiey contrive to prove fiiat an Irishman is an Indian , and a 
Peruvian may be a Welshman , from certain emigrations which took 
place many centories befcn^ Christ , and some about two centuries 
after the flood ! Keating , in his ^^ History of Ireland ,'' Starts a fli- 
vourite hero in the giant Partholanus, who was descended from 
Japhet , and landed on the coast of Munster 14th May, in the year 
of the world 1987. This giant succeeded in his enterprise , but a do- 
mestic misfortune attended him among his Irish friends : — his wills 
exposed him to their laughter by her loose behaviour, and provo- 
ked him to such a degree that he killed two favourito greyhounds ; 
and this the learned historian assures us was the first instance of 
female infidelity ever known in Ireland ! 


T%6 leajmed , n%i eoBtoiiledi wHh fioBMr's poeftieal (MmiMBDe, 
make bim ttie most aufthentic hifttorian and waosi accurate f^aogra* 
phertfaDliquiTy,' besides endowiag hioi witti aH the arls and sden- 
c€s lo be found in our Encyclopaedia. Even in surgery a trealne has 
beei writtea lo show by the variety ^ tia^ wounds of his heroes , 
that he was a most scientific .anatomist; and a miliianr scboiar baa^ 
lately lold us that from him is derived all the science of the modern 
adjutant and quarter-maaler feneral*, aH Ibe kao^iiedge of tactics 
which we now possess ; and that Xenophon , Epaminondas , Philip , 
ani Alexander, owed all flieir wartike reputation to Hoiaer ! 

To return lo pteasanter follies. Bes Fontelnes , the journalist, wli» 
had wit andnwdice^inaertedttie fragment of a letter which fliepoet 
Rousseau wrote to the younger Racine whilst he was at the Hague* 
These were Uie words : '* I e^Joy the conversation wifiiin these km. 
days of my associates ta Pamasaus. Mr. Piron is an exceHent anti- 
dote against melaiieholy *, but" — etc. Des Fontaines mMiciously 
slopped at tWs&it.Inlhe letter of Rousseau it was, '^butunfortu- 
nalely he departs soon.** Piron was very sensibly affected at this equf- 
li^but, and resolved to rerenge hims^ by composing ooe hun- 
dred epigrams against the malignant critic, fie had written i^ty 
befbre Des Foetaines died : but of these only two attracted any 

Towards the conclusion of the fifteenth century, Antonio Come- j 
lano wrote a hundred dUferenl sonnets on one subject -, '^ the eyesof . 
bisjnialress! " to which poisiHy Shakspeare may aAode, when Ja- 
qaes deseribeB a loiw, With his 

«* Wot fid baUadp 
Made to hit mistress* eyebrow.** 

Not inferior to this ingenious trifier is Nichotes Franco , well known 
in Italian literature , who employed himself in writing two hundred 
u^ ei^teen satiric sonnets, chiefly on the famous Peter Aretin. 
Tins tompooner had the honour of being Imnged at Rome for his 
Mnnatory publications. In the same class are to be placed two other 
writers. Brebeuf , who wrote one hundred and fifty q;)igrams against ^ 
a painted lady. Another wit , desirous of emulating him , and for a 
literary bravado, continued the same subject, and pointed at thi» 
unfortunate fiaur three hundred more , without once repeating the 
thoughts of Hrebeuf! There is a collection of poems catied ^^ La 
PtJCB des grands jours de Poitiers.'' " The FLEA of the carnivai 
of Poietiers.'' These poems were all written by the learned Pasquier 
upon a FLEA which he found one morning in the bosom of the famous* 
Catherine des Roches! 
. Not k>ng ago , a Mr. and Mrs. BiMerdik , in Flanders , published 


poeais under the whimsical title of ^^ White and Red/' — His own 
poems were called white , from the colour of his hmr ; and those of 
his lady red , in allusion to the colour of the rose. The idea must be 
Flemish ! 

Gildon , in liis '^ Laws of Poetry,'' commenting on this line of the 
Duke of Buckingham's '^ Essay on Poetry," 

** Ifatiire't chief master-piece \»writmg well :*' 

yery profoundly informs his readers ''That what is here said has 
not the least regard to the penmanship , that is , to the fairness or 
badness of the hand-writing ," and proceeds throughout a whole 
page, with a panegyric on a fine hand-writing! The stupidity of 
dullness seems. to have at times great claims to originality ! 

Littleton , the author of the Latin and English Dictionary, seems 
to have indulged his favou rite propensity to punn ing so far as evea 
to introduce a pun in the grave and elalxH^te work of a Lexicon. A 
story has been raised to account for it, and it has been ascribed to the 
impatient interjection of the lexicographer to his scribe , who taking 
no offence at the peevishness of his master, put it down in the Dic- 
tionary. The article alluded to is , '' Gongurro , to run with others^ 
to run together ^ to come together *, to fall foul on one another ; to 
CON-CMT, to CoN-dog^." 

Mr. Todd , in his Dictionary, has laboured to show the '' inaccu- 
racy of this pretended narrative." Yet a similar blunder appears to 
have happened to Ash. Johnson , while composing his Dictionary, 
sent a note to the Gentleman's Magazine to inquire the etymology of 
the word curmudgeon. Having obtained the information, he records 
in his work the obligation to an anonymous letter-writer. '' Curmud- 
geon , a vitious way of pronouncing cosur mechant. An unknown 
correspondent." Ash copied the word into his dictionary in this 
manner : '' Curmudgeon : from the French coeur^ unknown *, and me- 
chant, a correspondent." This singular negligence ought to be pla- 
ced in the class of our literary blunders : these form a pair of lexi- 
cographical anecdotes. 

Two singular literary follies have been practised on Milton. There 
is a prose version of his " Paradise Lost ," which was innocently 
translatedtfom the French version of his Epic ! One Green publish- 
ed a specimen of a new version of the ' ' Paradise Lost " into blank 
verse ! For this purpose he has utterly ruined the harmony of Mil- 
ton's cadences, by what he conceived to be ''f>ringing that amazing 
work somewhat nearer the summit of perfection.''^ 

A French author, when his book had been received by the French 
Academy, had the portrait of Cardinal Richelieu engraved on his 


tiUe-pagc , encircled by a crown of forty- rays , in esKh of which was 
writtea Ihe name of the celebrated j^rt)^ academicians. 

Tbe sel^extlltations of aulhors, frequently employed by injudi- 
cious writers , place them in ridiculous attitudes. A writer of a 
M dictioDary, which be intended for a Gydoptedia , formed such 
ao opinion of its extensite sale , that he put on the title-page the 
wordg ^^ first edition ," a hint to the gentle reader that it would 
not fe the last. Desmarest was so dilighted with his ^^Qovis,'' 
ao E|^c Poem , that be solemnly concludes his preface with a 
thanksgiving fo &od , to whom he attributes all its glory ! This is 

^ like that conceited member of a French parliament, who was 
overbeard, after his tedious harangue, muttering most dcTontly to 
Mttself , ** Non nobis Domine^ 

Seyeral works have been produced firom some odd coincidence with 
tbe name of their authors* Thus, De Sanssay has written a folio 
^Kkasift , consisting of panegyrics of persons of eminence , whose 
<in«tian names -^lete Andrew ; becexise Andrew was his own name. 
Two Jesuits made aj^similar collection of illustrious men whose chris- 
tian names were Theophilus and Philip, being their own. An- 
thoTtjr Sanderus has also composed a treatise of illustrious Antho- 
ms! And we have one Buchanan , who has written the lives of 
Aose pei'sons who were so fortunate as to have been his namesakes. 
Several forgotten writers have frequently Jbeen intruded on the 

I pnbUc eye, merely through such trifling coincidences as being 
members of some particulsff society, or natives of some particular 
country. Cordeliers have stood forward to revive the writings of 
Bans Seotus , because he had been a Cordelier ^ and a Jesuit com- 
piled a foho on the antiquities of a province , merely from the cir- 
cnmstanee that the founder of his order, Ignatius Loyola , had been 
iKMm there. Several of the classics are violently extolled above others, 
merely (h)m (he accidental circumstance of their editors having col- 
lected a vast number of notes, which they resolved to discharge on 

' the public. County histories have been frequently compiled , and 
provincial writers have received a temporary existence , from the 
accident of some obscure individual being an inhabitant of some 
obscure town. 

On such Hteraa^ follies Malebranche has made this refined obser- 
vation. The critics, standing in some way connected with the au- 

] thor, their se^-love inspires them , and abundantly fbrnishes eulo- 
giums which the author never merited , that they may thus obliquely 
reflect some praise on themselves. This is made so adroitly, so deli- 
cately, and so concealed , that it is not perceived. 
The following are strange inventions, originating in the wilful 

I bad taste of the au&ors. Otto Yenius, the master of Rubens , is 




Uie designer o#£e TJiedtie moral de la Vie humaine. In Uns 
emblematical history or human life, he has taken his subjects from 
Horace ^ but certainly his conceptions are not Horatian. He takes 
every image in a literal sense. If Horace says , '^Misce sUdUtiam 
coNSiLiis BREVEM /' bchold, Yenius takes brevets personally, and 
represents folly as a liale s/iort child! of not above three or (bur 
years old! In the emblem which answers Horace's ^'Raro antece- 
dentem scelestum deseruit PEDE POENA CLAUDO , we And Punish- 
ment with a wooden leg. — ^And for '' pulvis et umbra sumos,'* 
we have a dark burying vault, with dust sprinkled about the floor, 
and a shadow walking upright between two ranges of urns. For 
'^^ Virtus est vitium Jiigere ^ et sapientia prima stultitid ca- 
ridsse,'' most flatly he gives seven or eight Vices pursuing Virtue, 
and Folly just at the heels of Wisdom. I saw in an English Bible 
printed in Holland an instance of ttie same taste : the artist , to il- 
lustrate " Thou seest the mote in thy neighbour's eye, but not the 
beam in thine own," has actually placed an immense beam which 
' projects from the eye of the caviller to the ground ! 

As a contrast to the too obvious taste of Venius, may be placed 
Cesare di Ripa , who is the author of an Italian work , translated into 
most European languages, the Iconologia; the favourite book of 
the age, and the fertile parent of the most absurd oflispring which 
Taste has known. Ripa is as darkly subtile as Venius is obvious ; 
and as far-fetched in his conceits as the other is literal. Ripa repre- 
sents Beauty by a naked lady, with her head in a cloud ; bemuse the 
true idea of beauty is hard to be conceived ! Flattery, by a lady 
with a flute in her hand , and a stag at her feet, because stags are 
said to love music so much , that they suffer themselves to be taken , 
if you play to them on a flute. Fraud , with two hearts in one hand , 
and a mask in the other : — his collection is too numerous to point 
out more instances. Ripa also describes how the allegorical figures 
are to be coloured ^ Hope is to have a sky-blue robe , because she 
always looks towards heaven. Enough of these capriccios ! 


In the preceding article, Milton , I had occasion to give some 
strictures on the asperity of literary controversy, drawn from his 
own and Salmasius's writings. If to some the subject has appeared 
exceptionable, to me, I confess, it seems useful, and I shall there- 
fore add some other particulars ; for this topic has many branches. 
Of the following specimens the grossness and malignity are extreme ,, i 
yet they were employed by the first scholars in Europe. 

Martin Luther was not destitute of genius , of learning , or of elo- 


qucDce ; but his vi<dencc disfigured his works with singularities of 
abuse. The great reformer of superstition had himself all the vulgar 
ones of his day; he believed that flies were devils; and that he had 
had a buffeting with Satan , when his left ear felt the prodigious beat- 
ing. Hear him express himself on the Catholic divines : ^^The Pa- 
pists are all asses, and wiU always remain asses. Put them in what- 
ever sauce you choose j boiled , roasted , baked , fHed , skinned , 
beat, hashed , they are always the same asses.'" 

Gentle and moderate, compared with a salute to his Holiness. — 
" The Pope was bom out of the Devil's posteriors. He is ftill of 
devils, lies, blasphemies, and idolatries; he is anti-Christ; the 
robber o( churches ; the ravisher of virgins ; the greatest of pimps ; 
Itae governor of Sodom , etc. If the Turk lay hold of us , then we 
shall be in the hands of the Devil ; but if we remain with the Pope, 
we shafl be in hell. — ^What a pleasing sight would it be to see the 
Pope and the Cardinals hanging on one gallows in exact order, like 
the seals which dangle from the bulls of the Pope ! What an excellent 
council would tibey hold under the gallows ! '' 

Sometimes , desirous of catching the attention of the vulgar, Lu- 
ther attempts to enliven his style by the grossest buffooneries : ^ ^ Take 
care, my little Topa ! my little ass ! go on slowly : the times are slip- 
pery : this year is dangerous : if thou fallest , they will exclaim , See ! 
how our little Pope is spoilt ! '' It was fortunate for the cause of the 
Reformation that the violence of Luther was softened in a conside- 
ratde degree by the meek Melancthon , who often poured honey on 
the sting inflicted by the angry wasp. Luther was no respecter of 
kings ; he was so fortunate , indeed , as to find among his antagonists 
a crowned head ; a great good fortune for an obscure controversia- 
list, and the very punctum saliens of controversy. Our Henry VIII. 
wrote his book against the new doctrine : then warm from scholastic 
studies, Henry presented Leo X- with a work liighly creditable to 
his abilities , according to the genius of the age. Collier, in his Ec- • 
clesiasUcal History, has analysed the book , and does not ill describe 
its spuit : ^' Henry seems superior to his adversary in the vigour and 
propriety of his style , in the force of his reasoning , and the learning 
of his citations. It is true he leans too much upon his character, 
argues in his garter-robes , and writes as Hwere with his scepter ^ 
But Luther in reply abandons his pen to all kinds of railing and 
3buse. He addresses Henry YIII. in the following style : ^^ It is hard - 
to say if folly can be more foolish , or stupidity more stupid , than is 
the head of Henry. He has not attacked me with the heart of a king , 
but with the impudence of a knave. This rotten worm of the earth 
having blasphemed the mcgesty of my king, I have a Just right to 
Spatter his English majesty with his own dirt and ordure. This 


Henry has lied." Some of his original expressions to our 
Henry VIII. are these : " Stulta, ridicula, et verissim^ Henriciana 
et Thomistica sunt hffic — Regem Angfias Henricum istum planfe 
inentiri, etc. — Hoc agit inquietus Satan, ut nos a Scripturis avocel 
per sceleratos Henricos, etc." — He was repaid with capital and 
interest .fay an anonymous reply, said to have been written by Sir 
Thomas More, who concludes his arguments by leaving Luther in lan- 
guage not necessary to translate : " cum suis fiiriis et Airoribus, cum 
suis mentis et stercoribos cacantem cacatumque." Such were the 
vigorous elegancies of a controversy on the Seven Sacraments ! Long 
after, the court of Rome had not lost the taste of these ^' bitter herbs,'' 
for in the bull of the canonisation of Ignatius Loyola in August , 
1623, Luther is called monstrum teterrimum et detestabilispestis. 

Calvin was less tolerable , for he had no Meiancthon ! His adver- 
saries are never others than knaves , lunatics , (kunkards , and as- 
sassins ! Sometimes they are characterised by the fomiHar appel- 
latives of bulls, asses, cats, and hogs ! By him Catholic and Lutheran 
arealike hated. Yet, after having given vent to this virulent humour, 
he frequently boasts of his mildness. When he reads over his writ- 
ings , lie tells us , that he is astonished at his forbearance \ but this , 
he adds , is the duty of every Chrbtian ! at the same time , he gene- 
rally finishes a period with — " Do you hear, you dog?" "Do you 
hear, madman ? '' 

Beza , the disciple of Calvin , sometimes imitates the luxuriant 
abuse of his master. When he writes against Tilleman , a Lutheran 
minister, he bestows on him the following titles of honour : '^ Po- 
lyphemus ; an ape \ a great ass who is distinguished from other asses 
by wearing a hat ; an ass on two feet ; a monster composed of part 
of an ape and wild ass; a viHain who merits hanging on the first 
tree we find." And Beza was , no doubt , desirous of the oflSce or 
executioner ! 
• The Catholic party is by no means inferior in the felicities of their 
style. The Jesuit Raynaud calls Erasmus the **Batavian bufiToon ," 
and accuses him of nourishing the egg which Luther hatched, llie^e 
men were alike supposed fay their friends to be the inspired reguUi- 
tors of Religion! 

Bishop Bedell , a great and good man , respected even by his ad- 
versaries , in an address to his clergy, observes , " Our calling is to 
deal with errors , not to disgrace the man wifti scolding words. It 
is said of Alexander, I think , when he overheard one of his soHiers 
railing histily against Darius his enemy, that he reproved him, and 
added, ^Friend, I entertain these to fight against Darius, not to 
revile him-,' and my sentiments of treating the Catholics," con- 
cludes Bedell, '^arc not conformable to the practice of Luther and 


Calvin ; but they were but men , and perhaps we must confess th^y; 
suffered themselves to yield to the violence of passion/' 

The Fathers of the church were proficients in the art of abuse , 
and very ingeniously defended it. St. Austin affirms that the most 
caustic personality may produce a wonderful effect , in ppening a 
man's eyes to his own foUies. He iMustrates his position with a story, 
given with great simplicity, of his mother Saint Monica with her 
maid. Saint Monica certainly would have been a confirmed drunk- 
ard, bad not her maid timely and outrageously abused her. The 
siory will amuse.— ^' My mother had by little and little accustomed 
berself to relish wine. They used tosendher to the cellar, as being 
oae or the soberest in the fomily : she first sipped from the jug and 
lasted a few drops, for she at^orred wine, and did not care to drink. 
However, she gradually accustomed herself, and firom sipping it on 
ber lips she swallowed a draught.. As people from the smallest faults 
iosensibly increase , she at lengh liked wine , and drank bumpers. 
But one day being alone with the maid who usually attended her to 
the cellar, they quarrelled, and the maid bitterly reproached her with 
beiog a drunkard! That single word struck her so poignantly 
that it opened her understanding -, and reflecting on the deformity 
of the vice , she desisted tor ever from its use." 

To jeer and play the droll , or, in his own words, de boufon- 
ner, was a mode of controversy the great Arnauld defended as per- 
mitted by the writings of the holy fathers. It is stUl more singidar, 
when he not only brings forward as an example of this ribaldry, Eli- 
jah mocking at the false divinities , but God himself bantering the 
first man after his fall. He Justifies the injurious epithets which he 
has so liberally bestowed on his adversaries by the example of Jesus 
Quist and the apostles I it was on these grounds also that the cele- 
brated Pascal ap(dogised for the invectives with whidi he has occa- 
sionally disfigured his Provincial Letters. A Jesuit has collected '^ An 
Alphabetical Catatogue of the Names oi Beasts by which the Fathers 
characterised the Heretics ! " It may be found in Erotemata de 
nudis ac bonis Libris , p. 93 , 4to. 1653 , of Fattier Raynaud. This 
list of brutes and insects, among which are a vast variety of serpents, 
is accompanied by the names of the heretics designated! 

Henry Fitzsermon , an Irish Jesuit, was imprisoned for his pa- 
pistical designs and seditious preaching. During his confinement he 
proved himself to be a great amateur of controversy. He said , " he 
felt like a bear tied to a stake , and wanted somebody to bait him.'' 
A kind oflBoe , zealously undertaken by the learned Usher ^ then a 
young man. He engaged to dispute with him once a week on the 
subject of antic/wist / They met several times. It appears that our 
bear was out-worried , and declined any further dog-baiting. This 


spread an universal joy through the Protestants in Dublin. At (he 
early period of the Reformation, Dr. Smith of Oxford abjured pa- 
pistry, with the hope of retaining his professorship , but it was 
given to Peter Martyr. On this our Doctor recants , and wrote se- 
veral controversial works against Peter Martyr-, the most curious 
part of which is the singular mode adopted of attacking others , as 
well as Peter Martyr. In his margin he frequently breaks out, thus : 
" Let Hoper read this ! "— *' Here Ponet open your eyes and see 
your errors!"—" Ergo Cox, thou art damned!" In this manner, 
v^thout expressly writing against these persons , the stirring po- 
lemic contrived to keep up a sharp bush-fighting in his margins. 
Such was the spirit of those times , very difTerent from our own. 
When a modern bishop was Just advanced to a mitre, his bookseller 
begged to republish a popular theological tract of his against ano- 
ther bishop, because he might now meet him on equal terms. My 
lord answered—" Mr. *** no more controversy now ! " Our good 
bishop resembled Baldwin , who , from a simple monk , arrived to 
the honour of the see of Canterbury. The successive honours suc- 
cessively changed his manner. Urbsun the Second inscribed his brief 
to him in this concise description— JSa/tfumo Monasticof erven- 
tissimo, Abbate calido, Episcopo tepido ^ Archiepiscopo re- 
mis so! 

On the subject of literary controversies we cannot pass over the 
various sects of the scholastics : a volume might be compiled of 
their ferocious wars , which in more than one instance were accom- 
panied by stones and daggers. The most memorable , on account of 
the extent , the violence , and duration of thehr contests, are ttiose of 
the NOMINAUSTS and the Reausts. 

It was a most subtle question assuredly, and the woiid thought for 
a long whOe that their happiness depended on deciding , whether 
universal , that is genera^ hav6 a real essence, and exist indepen- 
dent of particulars , that is species: — whether, for instance , we 
could form an idea of asses , prior to individual asses ? Rosseline, m 
the eleventh century, adopted the opinion that universals have no 
re^l existence, either before , or in individuals, but are mere names 
and words by which the kinds of individuals is expressed -, a tenet 
propagated by Abelard, which produced the sect of the Nominalists. 
But the Realists asserted that universals existed independent of in- 
dividuals, — though they were somewhat divided between the various 
opinions of Plato and Aristotle. Of the Realists the most famous were 
Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. The cause of the Nominalists was 
almost desperate, till Occam in the fourteenth century revived the 
dying embers. Louis XL adopted the Nominalists , and the Nomina- 
lists flourished at large in France and Germany -, but unfortunately 


Pope John XXIII. patronised the Realists, and throughout Italy it 
was dangerous for a Nominalist to open his lips. The French King 
wa?ered , and the Pope triumphed ; his majesty published an edict 
in 1474 , in which he silenced for ever the Nominalists, and ordered 
tbeir books to be fastened up in their libraries with iron chains, that 
they might not be read by young students ! The leaders of that sect 
flediato England and Germany, where they united their forces with 
Lather and the first Reformers. 

Nothing could exceed the violence with which these disputes were 
conducted. Yiyes himself, who witnessed the contests , says that, 
'' when the contending psffties had exhausted their stock of verbal 
abuse , they often came to blows ; and it was not uncommon in these 
quarrels about uniuersals, to see the combatanls^engaging not only 
with their iste, i>ut with clubs and swords, so that many hove been 
wounded and some killed." 

On this war of words and all this^ terrifying nonsense John of Sa- 
lisbury observes , ^^ that there had been more time consumed than 
the Caesars bad employed in making themselves masters of the world; 
that the riches of Cnesus were inferior to the treasures that had been 
exhausted in this controversy ; and that th^ contending parties, after 
haviDg spent their whole lives in this single pmnt, had neither been 
so happy as to determine it to their satisfaction , nor to find in the 
hibyrinths of science where they had been groping any discovery 
that was wortti the pains they had taken.'' It may be added that Ra- 
mus having attacked Aristotle , for '' teaching us chimeras ,'' ail his 
scholars revolted; the parliament put astop to his lectures, and at 
length having broQght the matter into a law court , he was declared 
'^ to be insolent and daring'' — the king proscribed his works, he 
was ridiculed on the stage, and hissed at by his scholars. When at 
leagtb , during the plague , he opened again his schoc^, he drew on 
himself a fresh storm by reforming the pronuhciation of the letter Q, 
which they then pronounced like K— Kiskis for Quisquis, and Ram- 
l^am for Quamquam. This innovation was once more laid to his 
charge : a new rebellion I and a new ejection of the Anti-Aristotelian! 
The brother of that Gabriel Harvey who was the friend of Spenser, 
and with Gabriel had been the whetstone of the town-wits of his time, 
distinguished himself by his wrath against the Stagyrite. After hav- 
ing with Gabriel predicted an earthquake , and alarmed the king- 
dom , which never took place ( that is the earthquake, not the alarm), 
the wits buffeted him. Nash says of him, that ' ' Tarlton at the theatre 
niade jests of him , and Elderton consumed his ale-crammed nose to 
nothing, in bear-baiting him with whole bundles of ballads." Mar- 
low declared him to be " an ass fit only to preach of the iron age." 
^ung to madness by this lively nest of hornets , he avenged himself 


in a very cowardly manner — ^bc attacked Aristotle himself! for he set 
AristoUe with ISa heels upwards oa the school gates at Cambridge, 
and with asses^ ears on his head! 

But this controversy concerning Aristotle and Uiis school divinity 
was even prolonged. A professor in the CoHege at Naples , published 
in 1688 four volumes of peripatetic pUlosopfay, to estaUish the prin- 
ciples of Aristotle. The work was exploded , and he wrote an abusive 
treatise under the Nom de guerre of Benedetto Aletoo. A man of 
letters, Constantino Grimaldi , rcfilied. Alethio rejoined, he wrote 
letters , an apology for the letters , and would have written more for 
Aristotle than Aristotle himself perhaps would have done. However, 
Grimaldi was no ordinary aoAagonist, and not to be outwearied. He 
had not only the best of the argument , but he was resolved to \eXL 
the world so, as long as the world would listen. Whether he killed 
off Father Benedictis , the first author, is not aflOrmed ; but the 
latter died during the controversy. Grimaldi , however, afterwards 
^ pursued his ghost, and buffeted the Hittier in his grave. This enraged 
the University of Naples ^ and the Jesuits , to a man, denounced Gri- 
maldi to Pqpe Benedict XIII. and to the viceroy of Naples. On thig 
the Pope issued a bull prohibiting the reading of Grimaldi's woiks, 
or keeping them , under pain of excommunication , and the viceroy, 
more active than the bull, caused all the copies which were found 
in the author's house, to be thrown into the sea! The author with 
tears in his eyes beheki his expatriated volumes , hopdess that their 
voyage wouki have been successM. However, all-the little family of 
the Grimaldis were not drowned— for a storm arose , and happUy 
drove ashore many of the floating copies^ and these falling into cha- 
ritable hands, the heretical opinions of poor Grimaldi against Aris- 
totle and school divinity were still read by those who were not out- 
terrified by the Pope's bulls. The saked passages were slill at hand, 
and quoted with a double zest against the Jesuits ! 

We now turn to writers whose controversy was kindled only by 
subjects of polite literature. The particulars form a curious picture 
of the taste of the age. 

^^ There is ,'' says Joseph Scaliger, that great critic and reviler, 
^' an art of abuse or slandering, of which those that are ignorant 
may be said to defame others much less than they show a willingness 
to defame." 

^' Literary wars,*' says Bayle , '^ are sometimes as lasting as they 
are terrible.'' A disputation between (wo great scholars was so inter- 
minably violent , that it lasted tliirty years ! He humorously compares 
its duration to the German war which lasted as long. 

Baillet , when he refuted the sentimtots of a certsun author, always 
did it without naming him ^ but when he found any observation 


which be deemed cotpmendable , he quoted his name. Bayle ob- 
serves, that ^^ this is an excess of politeness, prejudicial to that 
freedom which should ever exist in the republic of letters ; that U 
should be allowed always to name those whom we refhte-, and that 
it is sufficient for this purpose that we banish asperity, medice , and 

After these preliminary observations, I shaU bHng forward 
various examples where this excellent advice is by no means re- 

Erasmus produced a dialogue, in which he ridiculed those scho- 
lars who were servile imitators of Cicero; so servile, that they 
would emirfoy no expression but what was found in the works of 
that writer ; every thing with them was Ciceronianised. This dia- 
logue is written with great humour. Julius Csesar Scaliger, the fa- 
ther, who was then unknown to the world, had beenpong looking for 
some occasion to distinguish himself; he now wrote a defence of Ci- 
cero, but which in fieict was one continued invective against Erasmus : 
he there treats the latter as illiterate, a drunkard, an impostor, an 
apostate, a hangman , a demon hot from hell I The same Scaliger, 
acting on the same principle of distinguishing himself at the cost of 
others, attacked Cardan's best work DeSubtilitate : his criticism 
<M not 2q;)pear till seven years after the first edition of the work , 
and then he obstinately stuck to that edition , though Cardan had 
corrected it in subsequent ones; but this Scaliger chose, that he 
might have a wider field for his attack. After this, a rumour spread 
that Cardan had died of vexation from our Julius Cesar's invincible 
pen ; then Scaliger pretended to feel all the regret possible for a man 
he had killed , and whom he now praised : however, his regret had 
as liiUc foundation as his triumph; for Cardan outlived Scaliger 
inany years , and valued his criticisms too cheaply to have sufTered 
them to have disturbed his quiet. All this does not exceed the In- 
vectives of Poggius , who has thus entitled several literary libels 
cofioposed against some of his adversaries, Laurentius Yalta, Philel- 
phus, etc., who returned the poisoned chalice to his own lips; 
(teclamations of scurrility, obscenity, and calumny ! 

Scioppius was a worthy successor of the Scaligers : his favourite 
expression was, that he had trodden down his adversary. 

Scioppius was a critic, as skilful as Salmasius or Scaliger, but 
still more learned in the language of abuse. This cynic was the At- 
tila of authors. He boasted that he had occasioned the deaths of 
Gasaubon and Scaliger. Detested and dreaded as the public scourge, 
Scioppius at the close of his life , was fearful he should find no 
retreat in which he might be secure. 

The great Casaubon employs the dialect of St. Giles's in his fu-» 


rious attacks on the learned Dalechamps , the Latin translator of 
Athenffius. To this great physician he stood more deeply indebted 
than he chose to confess; and to conceal the claims of this literary 
creditor, he called out Fesanum! Insanum! Tiresiam! etc. It 
was the fashion of that day with the ferocious heroes of the literary 
republic , to overwhelm each other with inyectives , and to consider 
that their own grandeur consisted in the magnitude of their volumes ; 
and their triumphs in reducing their brother giants into puny dwarfs. 
In science , Linnsus had a dread of controversy — conqueror or con- 
quered we cannot escape without disgrace! Mathiolus would have 
been the great man of his day, had he not meddled with such mat- 
ters. Who is gratified by "the mad Comarus," or "the flayed 
Fox?" titles which Fuchsius and Cornarus, two eminent botanists , 
have bestowed on each other. Some who were too fond of coptro* 
versy, as they grew wiser, have refhsed to take up the gauntlet. 

The heat and acrimony of verbal critics have exceeded descrip- 
tion. Their stigmas and anathemas have been long known to bear no 
proportion against the offences to which they have been directed. 
"God confound you," cried one grammarian to another, "for 
your theory of impersonal verbs! " There was a long and terrible 
controversy formerly, whether the Florentine dialect was to pre- 
vail over the others. The academy was put to great trouble, and 
the Anti-cruscans were oHen on the point of annulling this supre- 
macy ; una mordace scrittura was applied to one of these literary 
canons -, and in a letter of those times the following paragraph ap- 
pears : "Pescetti is preparing to give a second answer to Beni, 
which will not please him ; I now believe the prophecy of Cavalier 
Tedeschi will be verified, and that this controversy, begun with 
pens , will end with poniards! " 

Fabretti, an Italian, wrote furiously against Gronovius^ whom 
he calls Grunnouius : he compared him to all those animals whose 
voice was expressed by the word Qrunnire , to grunt. Gronovius 
was so malevolent a critic, that he was distinguished by the title of 
the "Grammatical Cur." 

* When critics venture to attack the person as well as the perform- 
ance of an author, I recommend the salutary proceedings of Hu- 
berus, the writer of an esteemed Universal History. He had been 
so roughly handled by Perizonius , that he obliged him to make the 
amende honorable in a court of justice-, where, however, I fear 
an English jury would give the smallest damages. 

Certain authors may be distinguished by the title of Literary 
BoBADiLS, or fighting authors. One of our own celebrated writers 
drew his sword on a reviewer ; and another, when his farce was 
condemned , offered to fight any one of the audience who hissed. 


Scudery, ftrother of the celebrated Mademoiselle Scudery, was a 
true niroassiaD ftuUy. The first publication which brought him into 
notice was his edition of the works of his friend Theophile. He con- 
cludes the preface with these singular expressions — " I do not hesi- 
tate to declare , that, amongst all the dead , and aU the liying , there 
is no person who has any thing to show that approaches the force 
of this yigorous genius ; but if amongst the latter, any one were 
so extrayagant as to consider that I detract from his imaginary glory, 
to show him that I fear as little as I esteem him, this is to inform 
him, that my name is 

De Scudery." 

A similar rhodomontade is that of Qaude Trellon , a poetical 
soldier, who begins his poems by challenging the critics ; assuring 
them that if any one attempts to censure him, he will only con- 
descend to answer sword in hand. Father Macedo , a Portuguese 
Jesuit, having written against Cardinal Norris , on the monkery of 
St. Austin, it was deemed necessary to silence both parties. Ma- 
cedo, compelled to relinquish the pen , sent his adversary a chal- 
lenge, and according to the laws of chivalry, appointed a place for 
meeting in the wood of Boulogne. Another edict to forbid the 
duel! Macedo then murmured at his hard fate, which would not 
suffer him, for the sake of St. Austin, for whom he had a par- 
ticular regard , to spill neither his ink nor his blood. 

Antt, prefixed to the name of the person attacked , was once a 
tavourite title to books of literary controversy. With a critical review 
of such books Baillet has filled a quarto volume \ yet such was the 
aKindant harvest, that he left considerable gleanings for posterior 

AntiA^ronovius was a book published against Gronovius, by 
Kuster. Perizonius , another pugilist of literature , entered into this 
dispute on the subject of the S& grave of the ancients , to which 
Kuster had just adverted at the close of his volume. What was the 
consequence? Dreadful! — ^Answers and rejoinders from both, in 
which they bespattered each other with the foulest abuse. A journalist 
pleasantly blames this acrimonious controversy. He says , " to read 
the pamphlets of a Perizonius and a Kuster on the JE& grave of the 
ancients , who would not renounce all commerce with antiquity ? It 
seems as if an Agamemnon and an Achilles were railing at each 
other. Who can refrain from laughter, when one of these commen- 
tators even points his attacks at the very name of his adversary? 
According to Kuster, the name of Perizonius signifies a certain part 
of the human body. How is it possible , that with such a name he 
could be right concerning the JE& grave? But does that of Kuster 


promise a better thing , since it signifies a beadle ; a man who driv^ 
dogs out of churches? — ^What madness is this ! '' 

Corneille , like our Dryden , felt the acrimony of literary irrita- 
tion. To the critical strictures of D'Aubignac it is acknowledged be 
paid the greatest attention , for, after this critic's Pratique du 
Thedtre appeared , his tragedies were more artfully conducted. But 
instead of mentioning the critic with due praise, he preserved an 
ungrateful silence. This occasioned a quarrel between the poet and 
the critic , in which the former exhaled his bile in several abusive 
epigrams , which have , fortunately for his credit , not been preserved 
in his works. 

The lively Voltaire could not resist the charm of abusing his ad- 
versaries. We may smile when he calls a blockhead , a blockhead ; 
a dotard , a dotard ^ but when he attacks , for a difference of opiniop, 
the morals of another man, our sensibility is alarmed. A higher trir 
bunal than that of criticism is to decide on the actions of men. 

There is a certain disguised malice, which some writers have roost 
unfairly) employed in characterising a contemporary. Burnet called 
Prior, one Prior. In Bishop Parker's History of his own Times, an 
innocent reader may start at seemg the celebrated MarveU described 
as an outcast of society -, an infamous libeller^ and one whose talents 
were even more despicable than his person. To such lengths did the 
haired of party, united with personal rancour, carry this bishop , 
who was himself the worst of time-«ervers. He was, however, amply 
repaid by the keen wit of Marvell in ^^ The Rehearsal transposed ,'' 
which may still be read with delight , as an admirable ^(fusion of 
banter, wit, and satire. Le Clerc , a cool ponderous Greek critics 
quarrelled with Boileau about a passage in Longinus , and several 
years afterguards , in revising Moreri's Dictionary, gave a short sar- 
castic notice of the poet's brother in which he calls him the elder 
brother of him who has written the book entitled*''' SiUires of 
Mr. Boileau D'Espreaux!'" — the works of tiie modern Horace , 
which were then delighting Europe, he calls, with simple impudence, 
a book entitled Satires ! 

The works of Homer produced a controversy , both long and 
virulent, amongst the wits of France. This literary quarrel is of some 
note in the annals of literature , since it has produced two valuable 
books; La Molte's ^' Reflexions sur la Critique," and Madame 
Dacier's ^^ Des Causes de la Corruption du GoOt.'' La Mottc wrote 
with feminine delicacy , and Madame Dacier like an University 
pedant. ^^ At length by the efforts of Yalincour, the friend of art, 
of artists , and of peace , the contest was terminated.'' Both parties 
were formidable in number , and to each he made remonstrances , 
and applied reproaches. La JMottc and Madame Dacier, the opposite 


leaders, were conrinced by his argumenls, made reciprocal conces- 
sions, and concladed a peace. The treaty was formally ratified at a 
dinner, given on the occasion by a Madame De Slaiil , who repre- 
seoled " Neutrality." Libations were poured to the memory of old 
Homer, and the parties were reconciled. 


When Dante puMished his " Inferno," Uie simplicity of the age 
accepted it as a true narrative of his descent into bell. 

When the Utopia of Sir Thomas More was first published , it 
occasioned a pleasant mistake. This political romance represents a 
perTect, but visionary repubUe, in an island supposed to have been 
ne^'Iy discovered in America. " As this was the age of discovery," 
says Granger , '^ the learned Budsus , and others , took it for a 
gepnme history ] and considered it as highly expedient, that mission- 
aries should be sent thither, in order to convert so wise a nation to 

II was a long while after publication that many readers were con- 
vincfcel that Gulliver's Travels were fictitious. 

But the most singular blunder was produced by the ingenious 
" Hermippus Redivivus" of Dr. Campbell , a curious banter on the 
bennetic philosophy , and the. universal medecine ; but the grave 
irony is so closely kept up, that it deceived Ibr a length of time the 
most learned. His notion of the art of prolonging life , by inhaling 
the breath of young women, was eagerly credited. A physician, who 
himself had composed a treatise on health, was so influenced by it , 
that he achially took lodgings at a female boarding-^hool , that he 
might never be without a constant supply of the breath of young 
ladies. Mr. Thicknessc seriously adopted the project. Dr. Rippis 
acknowledged that after he had read the work in his youth , the 
reasonings and the facts left him several days in a kind of fairy land. 
t have a copy with manuscript notes by a learned physician , who 
seems to have had no doubts of its veracity. After all , the intention 
of the work was long doubtf^il; till Dr. Campbell assured a friend it 
was a mere jeu d'esprit; that Bayle was considered as standing 
wittiout a rival in the art of treating at large a difficult subject, 
without discovering to which side hisown sentiments leaned.Campbell 
had read more uncommon books than most men, and wished to rival 
Bayle, and at the same time to give many curious matters little known. 

Palavicini , in his History of the Council of Trent , to confer m 
honour on M. Lansac , ambassador of Charles IX. to that council , 
bestows on him a cottar of the order of the Saint Esprit ; but which 
order was not instituted till several years afterwards by Henry III. 


A sinilar yolunlary blunder is that or Surita, in his Annales de la 
Corona de Aragon. This writer represents, in the battles he de- 
scribes, many persons who were 'not present; and this , merely to 
confer honour on some particular Tamilles. 

Fabianl, quoting a French narrative of travels in Italy , took for 
the name of the author the words, found at the end of the title-page, 
Enric/ude deux Listes; that is, " Enriched with two liste :" on this 
he observes, '^ that Mr. Enriched with two lists has not failed to do 
that justice to Ciampinl which he merited/' The abridgersof Gesner's 
Bibliotheca ascribe the romance of Amadis to one Acuerdo Olvido^ 
Remembrance , Oblivion \ mistaking the French translator's Spanish 
motto on the title-page, for the name of the author. 

D'Aquin, the French king's physician, in his Memoir on the Pre- 
paration of Bark, takes Mantissa ^ which is the titleof the Appendix 
to the History of Plants by Johnstone , for the name of an author , 
aiid who, he says, is so extremely rare, that he only knows him by 

Lord Bolingbroke imagined, that in those fimious verses, begin- 
ning with Excudent alii, etc. Virgil attributed to the Romans the 
glory of having surpassed the Greeks in historical composition : 
according to his idea, those Roman historians whom Virgil preferred 
to the Grecians were Sallust , Livy , and Tacitus. But VirgO died 
before Livy had written his history , or Tacitus was born. 

An honest friar , who compiled a church history , has placed in 
the class of ecclesiastical writers , Guarini , the Italian poet : on the 
faith of the title of his celebrated amorous pastoral, II Pastor Fido, 
'^ The Faithful Shepherd ," our good father imagined that the 
character of a curate , vicar , or bishop , was represented in this 

A blunder has been recorded of the monks in the dark ages, which 
was likely enough to happen when their ignorance was so dense. A 
rector of a parish going to law with his parishioners about paving 
the church , quoted this authority from St. Peter — Paxfeam illi, 
non pa^feam ego ; which he construed , They are to pave the 
clwrchy not /. This was allowed to be good law by a judge, himself 
an ecclesiastic too! 

One of the grossest literary blunders of modem times b that of 
the late Gilbert Wakefield, in his edition of Pope. He there takes 
the well known '* Song by a Person of Quality," which is a piece of 
ridicule on the glittering tuneful nonsense of certain poets, as a serious 
composition. In a most copious commentary , he proves that every 
line seems unconnected with its brothers, and that the whole reflects 
disgrace on its author! A circumstance which too evidently shows 
how necessary the knowledge of modem literary history is to a 


modem commentator , and that those who are profound in verbal 
Greek are not the best critics on English writers. 

The Abb6 Bizot, the author of the medallic history of Holland , 
fell into a droll mistake. There is a medal, struck when Philip IL 
set forth his irwincible Armada , on which are represented the 
King of Spain , the Emperor , the Pope , Electors , Cardinals, etc. 
with their eyes covered with a bandage, and bearing for inscription 
(bis fine verse of Lucretius : — 

O c»caA hominam mentes! O pectora caeca ! 

The abb^ prepossessed with the prejudice, that a nation persecuted 
by the pope and his adherents could not represent them without 
some insult, did not examine with sufficient care the ends of the 
bandages which covered the eyes and waved about the heads of the 
personages represented on this medal : he rashly took them for 
apses' ears, and as such they are engraved ! 

Mabillon has preserved a curious literary blunder of some pious 
Spaniards, who applied to the Pope for consecrating a day in honour 
(^ Saint Fiar. His holiness, in the voluminous catalogue of his 
saints , was ignorant of this one. The only proof brought forwards 
for his existence was this inscription : — 

An antiquary , however, hindered one more festival in the Catholic 
calendar, by convincing them that these letters were only the re- 
mains of an inscription erected for an ancient surveyor of the roads^ 
and he read their saintship thus : 


Maffei, in his comparison between Medals and Inscriptions ^ 
delects a literary blunder in Spon, who, meeting with this in- 
scription , 

Maxime VI. Contnle. 

lakes the tetters YI for numerals , which occasions a strange ana- 
chronism. They are only contractions of Firo Illustri—Y I. 

As absurd a blunder was this of Dr. Stukeley on the coins of 
Caraosius; finding a battered one with a defaced inscription of 


he read it 


And sagaciously interpreting this to be the wj/eofCarausius, makes 


a new personage start up in liistorj ; he contrives even lo give some 
theoretical Memoirs of the August Oriuna ! 

Father Sirmond was of opinion that St. Ursula and her eleven 
thousand Virgins were ail created out of a blunder. In some ancient 
MS. they found Su Ursula et UndecimiUa V. M. meaning St. 
Ursula and Undecimilla , Virgin Martyrs ; imagining that Unde- 
cimilla vdth the V. and M. which f<rflowed, was an abbreviation 
for Undecem Millia Martyrum Virginum, they made out of 
Two Virgins the whole Elevfen Thousand! 

Pope , in a note on Measure for Measure , informs us , that its 
story was taken from Cinthio's Novels , Dec. 8. Nov^. 5. That is, 
Decade 8 , Nov^el 5. The critical Wa^burlon , in his edition of 
Shakspeare, puts the words in full length thus, December 8 , Na- 
if ember 5. 

When the fragments of Petronius made a great noise in the 
literary world, Meibomius, an erudite of Lubeck, read in a letter 
from another learned scholar of Bologna , '' We have here an en- 
tire Petronius 'j I saw it with mine own eyes , and vrith admira- 
tion.'' MeiI)omius in post-haste is on the road, arrives at Bolo- 
gna , and immediately inquires for the librarian GapponL He in- 
quires if it were true that they had at Bologna an entire Petro- 
nius? Capponi assures him that it was a thing which had long 
been public '^ Can I see this Petronius? Let me examine it ! '' — 
^^ Certainly,'' replies Capponi, and leads our erudite of Lubeck to 
the church where reposes the body of St. Petronius. Meibomius 
bites his lips , calls for his chaise , and takes his flight. 

A French translator, when he came to a passage of Swift , in 
which#t is said that the Duke of Marlborough broke an officer ; 
not being acquainted with this Anglicism, he translated it roue, 
broke on a wheel ! 

Cibber's play of " Lov^e^s last Shift " was entitled " La derniere 
Chemise de, F Amour. " A French writer of Congreve's life has 
taken his i/Mmmg for a Morning Bride, and translated it L'L- 
pouse du Matin. 

Sir John Pringle mentions his having cured a soldier by the use 
of two quarts of Dog and Duck water daily : a French translator 
specifies it as an excellent broth made of a duck and a dog I In a re- 
cent catalogue compiled by a French writer of Works on Natural 
History, he has inserted the well-known " Essay on Irish Bulls'" 
by the Edgeworths. The proof, if it required any, that a Frenchman 
cannot understand the idiomatic style of Shakspeare appears in a 
French translator, who prided himself on giving a verbal translation 
of our great poet, not approving of Le Tourneur's paraphrastic^ 


J«^^Jfo fimnd in the cetebraled speech of Norlh«BAeriand in 

Erea audi a man, to faint, m» (piritlcM , 
So dull, M dmd ia look, m wo«r«<8ea«— 

Winch he renders " y^insi douleur , va-fen ' " 
The AhW Gregoire dTords another striking proof of the errors to 

Zr.„ a^*^ r"^: The Abh^, in the excess of Ws phiir 
ta^.to show to what dishonourable offices human nature is de- 
graded acquaints us that at London he obseryed a sign-llrd 
P«cta.nung the master as tueur despunaUes de sa m^STSugl 
tejoyer to his majesty ! This is no doubt the honest^Mr. TilBn, 

^^^ ."? "*' *** ^•^"'^ ■""*» ^"^ ««"'"«» to the good 

^JT^ ?l "k '?'^'^'' *"«* **'•*' '"""*^ *y 'he said des- 

I iL! J^*° **y hand-and thus human nature was degraded ' 

A French writer translates the Utin tiQe of a treatise of Philo^ 

i^Umnis bonus liber est,^erj good man is a freeman, by 

Jc*a bure est bon. It was well for him , observes Jortin , that he 

Jd ncrt hye within the reach of the Inquisition, which might haye 

taken this as a reflection on the Index Exjmrgatorius. 

An English translator turned "Dieu defend I'aduWre " into 

y^A defends adultery." Guthrie , in his translation of Du Halde, 

«>a» the twenty-sixth day of Uie new moon." The whole age of ttie 

moon IS but twenty-eight days. Theblunder arose from his mistaking 

ide word neuvieme (nine) for nouveUe or newe (new ). 

The facetious Tom Brown commited a strange bhmder in his 
iraDslattons of Gelli's Groe. The word Stame, not aware of its sig- 
MBcation , he boldly rendered stares , probaUy from the similitude 
ofsoundjlhe succeeding translator more correcUy discovered 5tame 
to be red-legged partridges ! 

In Charles II.'s reign a new c<dlect was drawn , in which a new 
epithet was added to the king's tiUe, that gave great offence, and 
owasioned great raiUery. He was styled our most religious king. 
Whatever Uie sif^ification of religious might be in the Latin wewd, 
as impwiing the sacredness of the king's person , yet in the English 
language it bore a signification that was no way appUcable to the 
«ng. And he was asked by his familiar courtiers , what must the 
nmon think when they heard him prayed for as their most religious 
«mg?—uterary blunders otUiis nature are frequenUy discovered 
'1 the versions of good classical scholars , who would make Uie En- 
fftsft servilely bend to the Latin and Greek. Even MUton has been 
jastty censured for his free use of Lattnisms and Grecisms. 

The blunders of modern antiquaries on sepulchral monuments 
are numerous. One mistakes a lion at a knight's feet for a water 

•• 18 


curled dog; anottier could not dSstingoisti censers in the hands ot 
angds ttimfishing'nets ,• two angels at a lady's feet were counted as 
her two cherub-like babes ; and anotherhas mistaken a leopard and 
a hedgehog for a cat and a rat! In some of these cases are the 
antiquaries or the sculptors most to be blamed? 

Aliterary blunder of Thomas Warton is a specimen of the manner 
in which a man of genius may continue to Uunder with infinite in- 
genuity . In an old romance he finds these lines , describing the duel 
of Saladin with Richard-GoourHle-Lion :-*- 

' A Ptrntow hrode in baade he btre , 
For hit thought he w^de there 
Here tUyne Aioherd. 

He imagines this Faucon brode means a Jalcon bird, or a 
hawk, and ttiat Saladin is represented with this bird on his fist to 
eiQ)ress his contempt et his adversary. He supports his conjecture 
by noticing a Gothic picture , supposed to be the sufijeol of this 
duel , and also«ome old tapestry of heroes on horseback with hawks 
on their fists ; he plunges into feudal times when no gentleman 
appeared on horseback without his hawk. Alter all this curious 
erudition , the rough but skilhil Ritson inhumanly triumphed by 
dissolving the magical fancies of the more elegant Warton , by 
explaining a Faucon brode to be nothing more than a broad 
faidehiony which , in a duel , was cartainly more i^seftd than a bird. 
The edHor of the private rqprint of Hentzner, on that writer's tra- 
dition respecting ^^ the Kings of Denmark who reigned in England '' 
buried in the Temple Church , metamorphosed the two Inns of 
Court , Grafs Inn and Linoobi^s Inn y into the names of the 
Danish kings , Gresin and I^conin. 

Bayle supposes that Marcelhis Palingenius , who wrote thepoem 
entitled the Zodiac , the twelve books bearing the names of the 
signs , firom this circumstance assumed ttie title of Poeta Stellatus: 
But it appeiurs that this writer was an Italisoi and a native of SteUada, 
a town in the Ferrarese. It is probable that his birth-place originally 
produced ttie conceit of the title of his poem : it is a curious in- 
stance how a critical conjecture may be led astray by its own inge- 
nuity, when ignorant of the real fact. 


Marriage is such a rabble rout, | 

I That thoae that are out, woold fam get in ; I 

Ai|d those that are ia, woold faia get out. I 


Having examined some literary blunders , we wiH now pro- I 
ceed to the subject of a literary wif'e^ which may happen lo jMrove 


ooe. A learned lady is to Ihe teste of few. It i» howwernuWerof 
«irp«e, that several literaiy men should Have felt such a want of 

!Sf " Tfi^ " *'*' "^^' '" *^' ^ '" «« Hector cJteWs 
iirfromadte. The wives of many menof lettem have been dl^otate 
Ul-humoured, slatternly, and have run into aU (be frivoliti^tS 

«»e^ The wtfe of the tearned Bud»!B was of a different ch«Siw^^ 

How dehghtful is it whenTETSind of the Itoiale is so haoDilr i 
Asposed, and so riehly cultivated, as to parUcipate in the literarv 
avocations of her husband! Itisthen truly that the interoourse of the 
sexes becomes the most refined pleasure. What deUght for in- 
slance, must the great Budasus have lasted, even in thos^ works 
which must have been for others a most dretriAil labour ! His wife 
left him nothing to deaire. The flrequent eompanton of his studies 
she brought him the books he required to his desk ; she collated nasi 
»^es, and transcribed quotetions; the same genius, the samein- 
chnataon , and the same ardour for literature, eminenUy appeared 
m those two fortunate persons. Far from withdrawing her husband 
from his studies, she was sedulous to animate him when he languish- 
ed. Ever at his side, and ever assiduous; ever with some useful 
took in her hand , she acknowledged herself to be a most happv 
weman. Yet she did not neglect the. education of eleven children 
She and Budteos shared m Oie mutual cares they owed their pro^ 
geny. Budams was not insensible of bis singular felicity. In one of 
his letters , be represents himself as married to two ladies • one of 
whom gave him boys and girb, the other was Philosophy who 
produced books. He says , that in his twelve flnt years , PhUosophv 
had been less fhiitftil than Marriage; he had produced lessboote 
than children ; he had laboured m<Hre corporally than intellectually • 
hut he hoped to make more books than men. " The soul (says he) 
win be productive in its turn ; it will rise on the ruins of the body • 
a proHfic virtue is not given at the same time to the bodUv orjfans 
and the pen." 

Thelady of Evelyndesigned herself the fronstlspiecetohistransia- 
lion of Lucretius. She felt the same passion in her own breast which 
animated her husband's, who has written with such various inge- i 
Duity. Of Baron Haller it is recorded that he inspired his wife and 
tunUy with a taste for his different pursuits. They were usually 
employed in assisting his literary occupations; they transcribed 
manuscripts, consulted authors, gathered plants, and designed and 
coloured under his eye. What a ddightful family picture has the 
yoonger Hiny given posterity in his letters!— Of Calphumia, his 
wife , he says , " Her affection to me has given her a turn to books • 
airf my compositions, which she takes a pleasure in reading, and 
e»en getttag by heart , are continually in her hands. How full of . 


tender sdicUude is stie when I am entering upon any cause! How 
kindly does she rejoice with me when il is over! While I am plead- 
ing , she places persons to inform her firom time to time how I am 
heard , what applauses I receive , and what success attends the cause. 
When at any time I recite my works, she conceals herself behind 
some curtain, and with secret rapture enjoys my praises. She sings 
ray verses to her lyre, with no other master but love, the Jaest 
instructor, for her guide. Her passion will increase with our days, 
for it is not my youth nor my person , which time gradually impairs, 
but my reputation and my glory, of which she is enamoured." 

On the subject of a literary wife, I must introduce to the ac- 
quaintance of the reader, Margaret, duchess of Newcastle. She is 
known at least by her name , as a voluminous writer; for she extend- 
ed her literary productions to the number of twelve folio volumes. 

Her labours have been ridiculed by some wits ; but had her studies 
been regulated, she would have displayed no ordinary genius. The 
Connoisseur has quoted her poems, and her verses have been 
imitated by Milton. 

The duke, her husband, was also an author-, his book on horse- 
manship still preserves his name. He has hkewise written comedies , 
and his contemporaries have not been penurious in their eulogiums. 
It is true he was a duke. Shadwell says of him , ** That he was the 
greatest master of wit , the most exact observer of mankind , and the 
most accurate judge of humour that ever he knew." The life of the 
duke is written ^^ by the hand of his incomparable duchess." It was 
published in his lifetime. This curious piece of biography is a folio 
of 197 pages , and is entitied " The life of the Thrice Noble , High , 
and Puissant Prince , William Cavendish." His titles then follow : — 
" Written by the Thrice Noble , Illustrious, and Excellent Princess, 
Margaret Duchess of Newcastle, his wife. London, 1667." This 
Life is dedicated to Charles the Second ; and there is also preflxed a 
copious epistle to her husband the duke. 

In this epistle the character of our Literary Wife is described with 
all its peculiarities. 

" Certainly, my lord , you have had as many enemies and as many 
friends as ever any one particular person had; nor do I so much 
wonder at it , since I , a woman , cannot be exempt from the maUce 
and aspersions of spiteful tongues , which they cast upon my poor 
writings, some denying me to be the true authoress of them; for 
your grace remembers well, that those books I put out first to the 
judgment of this censorious age were accounted not to be written 
by a woman, but that somebody else had writ and published them 
in my name ; by which your lordship was moved to prefix an epistle 
before one of them in my vindication , wherein you assure the worN, 


upoD your honour, that what was written and printed in my name 
was my own 5 and I have also made known that your lordship was 
my only tutor, in declaring to me what you had found and observed 
by your own experience j for I being young when your lordship 
married me could not -have much knowledge of the world; but it 
pleased God to command his servant Nature to endue me with a 
poetical and philosophical genius , even from my birth ; for I did 
write some books in that kind before I was twelve years of age , 
which for want of good method and order I would never divulge. 
But though the woiid would not believe that those conceptions and 
fancies which I writ were my own , but transcended my capacity, 
yet they found fault, that they were defective for want of learning, 
and on the other side, they said I had pluckt feathers out of the 
universities 5 which was a very preposterous judgment. Truly, my 
lord, I confess that for want of scholarship, I could not express 
myself so well as otherwise I might have done in those philosophical 
writings I published first; but after I was returned with your loixt- 
shipinto my native country, and led a retired country life, I appUed 
myself to the reading of philpsophical authors, on purpose to learn 
those names and words of art that are used in schools ; which at 
first were so hard to me , that I could not understand them , but 
was fain to guess at the sense of them by the whole context, and 
so writ them down , as I found them in those authors ; at which my 
readers did wonder, and thought it impossible that a woman could 
have so much learning and understanding in terms of art and scholas- 
tical expressions; so that I and my books are like the old apologue 
mentioned in iEsop, of a father and his son who rid on an ass.'' 
Mere f<^ws a long narrative of this fable, which she applies to 
herself in these words — "The old man seeng he could not please 
mankind in any manner, and having received so many blemishes 
and aspersions for the sake of his ass, was at last resolved to drown 
him when he came to the next bridge. But I am not so passionate 
to bum my writings for the various humours of mankind , and for 
their finding fault; since there is nothing in tliis world, be it the 
noblest and most commendable action whatsoever, that shall escape 
blameless. As for my being the true and only authoress of them , 
your lordship knows best; and my attending servants are witness 
that I have liad none but my own thoughts , fancies , and specula- 
tions, to assist me ; and as soon as I set them down I send them to 
those that are to transcribe them, and fit them for the press; 
whereof, since there have been several , and amongst them such 
as only could write a good hand, but neither understood orthogra- 
phy, nor had any learning (I being tlien in banishment, with your 
lordship , and not able to maintain learned secretaries,) which hath 


been a great dUsadyantage to my poor works , and the cause that they 
hate been printed so folse and so AiU of errors; for besides that I 
want afoo skill in scholarship and true writing, I did many times 
not peruse the copies that were transcribed , lest they should disturb 
my following conceptions*, by which neglect, as I said, many 
errors are slipt into my works, which, yet I hope, learned and 
impartial men will soon rectify, and look more upon the sdnse than 
carp at words. I have been a student even from childhood; and 
since I have been your lordship's wife I have lived for the most part 
a strict and retired life, as is best known to your lordship; and 
therefore my censurers cannot know much of me, since they have 
litae or no acquaintance with me. 'Tis true I have been a traveller 
both before and after I was married to your lordship , and sometimes 
show myself at your lordship's command in public places or assem- 
Mies, but yet I converse with few. Indeed, my lord, I matter not 
the censures of this age , but am rather proud of them ; for it shows 
that my actions are more than ordinary, and according to the old 
proverb , it is belter to be envied than pilled ; for I know well that 
it is merely out of spite and malice , whereof this present age is so 
ML that none can escape them, and they'll make no doubt to stain 
even your lordship's loyal, noble, and heroic actions, as well as 
they do mine; though yours have been of war and fighting , mine 
of contemplating and writing : yours were performed publicly in the 
fleW , mine privately in my closet ; yours had many thousand eye- 
witnesses; mine none but my waiting-maids. But the great God, 
that hitherto bless'd both your grace and me , will , I question not , 
preserve both our femes to aAer-ages. 

" Your grace's honest wife, 

^' and humble servant, 

"M. Newcastle." 

The last portion of this life, which consists of the observations 
and good things which she had gathered from the conversations of 
her husband, forms an excellent Ana; and shows that when Lord 
Orford, in his "Catalogue of Noble Authors," says, that "this 
stately poetic couple was a picture of foolish nobility," he writes , 
as he does too often, with extreme levity. But we must now attend 
to the reverse of our medal. 

Many chagrin s may corrode the nuntial slate of liter ary men . 
Females who , prompiedTSy~vanity, but not by iiaisie', unite them- 
selves to scholars, must ever complain of neglect. The inexhaustible 
occupations of a library will only present to such a most dreary 
solitude. Such a lady declared of her learned husband , that she was 
more jealous of his books than his mistresses. It was probably while 

A UTEI^ARY WffE. 471 

QllB^ was oooQfMWiMg bis ' Uonidas/' that his lady avenged 
heffsdf for this Homeric teattenlioB to her, and took her (Ught 
with a lover. It was peculiar to the learned Dacier to he united to 
a woman, his equal in erudition and his supmor in taste. When 
she wrote in the album of a Geroaan IrayeUer averse from Sophocles 
as an apology for her unwillingness to place herself among his 
leaned firiends, that '^Sllenoe is the Domale's ornament/' it was a 
triit of her modesty. Thelearqed Pasquier was coupled to a female 
of a different character, since he tells us in one of his Epigrams that 
lo Bumage the vociferations of his lady, be was compelled himself s 
lo become a vociferator. — ^^ Unfortunate wretch that I am, I who \ 
am a lover of universal peace ! But to have pew^e I am obliged ever ^ 
lo be at war." 

SjcJ ^ginas More was united to a viroman of the harshest temper "^^^ 
Mid themost sordid manners. To soAen the moroseness of her dis- fj t 
position , ^^ he persuaded her lo play on the lute , viol, and other y 
Insftruments , every day '' Whether it was that she had no ear fiiy 
music, she hersi^ never became harmonious as the instrument she 
touched. All these ladies may be considered as rather too alert in 
thought , and too ^piriled in actipn *, but a tame cuckoo bird who is 
always repeating the same tone must be very fatiguing. The lady | 
of Samuel Qaike ^the great cominler of books in 16§p, whose name 
was anagrmimatised to '^ such all cream, '' alluding to his inde- | 
fiatigable labours in sucking all the cream of every other aulhor^ | 
witlioiit having any cream himself, is described by her husband 
as entertaining the most sublime conceptions of his illustrious com- 
pilations. This appears by her behaviour. He says, ^' that she 
aerer rose flrom table vnthout making him a curtesy, nor drank to 
him without bowing , and that his word was a law to her. '' 

I was nmch surprised in looking over a correspondence of the 
times, that in |590 the Bishop of Lik:3ifiM and Coventry writing to 
the Earl of Sirewsbury on the subject of his living separate from 
his countess , uses as one of his arguments for their union the fol- 
lowing curious one , which surely shows the gross and cynical 
feeling which the Mr sex excited even among the higher classes of 
society. Tlie language of this good bishop is neithear that of truth , 
we hope , nor certainly that of religion. 

' ' But some wiU say e in your Lordship's bdialfe that the Ck)untesse 
is a sharp and bitter shrewe , and therefore licke enough to shorten 
your Kef, if shee should kepe yow company. Indeede , my good 
Lord, I haveheardsomesay so ;butifshrewdnesseorsharpnessemay 
be a juste cause of separation between a man and wiefe, I thinck 
fewe men in Englande would keepe their wives fonge ^ for it is a 
common jeste , yet trewe m some sense, that there is but one 


slirewe in all the woiide , and everee man hatti her : and so eyeree 
ihan must be ridd of his wiefe that woWe he ridd of a shrewc. " 
It is wonderful this good bishop did not use another argument as 
cogent, and which would in those times be allowed as something ; 
the name of his lordship, Shrewsbury, would have afforded a 

The entertaining MarviUe saysitlmt the generality of ladies 
married to hterary men are so vain of the abilities and merit of 
ttieir husbands , that they are fk^quently insufferable. 

The wife of Barcla y, author of '"The Argenis, " considered 
hersdf as the wife of a demigod, litis appeared glaringly after his 
death : for Cardinal Barberini baying erected a monument to the 
memory of his tutor, next to the tomb of Barclay, Mrs. Barclay 
was so irritated at this that she demolished his monument, brought 
home his bust , and declared that the ashes of so great a genius as 
her husband should never be placed beside a pedagogue. 

Salmasius's wife was ia termagant ; Christina said she admired his 
patiehce more than his erudition. Mrs Salmasins indeed consi- 
dered herself as the queen of science , because her husband was 
acknowledged as sovereign among the critics. She boasted that she 
had for her husband the most learned of all the nobles , and the 
most noble of all the learned. Our good lady always Joined the 
learned conferences which he held in his study. She spoke loud , 
and decided with a tone of msjesty. Salmasius was mild in conver-* 
sation , but the reiersejnjiis writings , for our proud Xantippe 
considered him as actingbeneath himself if he did not magisterially 
call every one names ! 

The wife of Rj)hault , when her husband gave lectures on the 
philosophy of Descartes, used to seat herself on these days at the 
door, and refhsed admittance to every one shabbily dressed , or who 
^d not discover a genteel air. So convinced was she that , to be 
worthy of hearing the lectures of her husband , it was proper Uy 
appear fashionable. In vain our good lecturer exhausted himself in 
telling her that fortune does not always give fine clothes to philo- 
[ The ladies of Albert Durer and Berghem were both shrews. The 
' wife of Durer compelled that great genius to the hourly drudgery 
of his profession, merely to gratify her own sordid passion :in 
despair, Albert ran away fh>m his Tisiphone *, she wheedled him 
back , and not long afterwards this great artist fell a victim to her 
furious disposition. Berghem's wife would never allow that excdlent 
artist to quit his occupations : and she contrived an odd expedient 
to detect his indolence. The artist worked in a room above her ^ ever 
and anon she roused him by thumping a long stick against the 


ceiMiig , niiile the obecHent Bergbem answered by stamping his foot, 
to satisfy Mrs. Berghem that he was not napping. 

. Mian had an aversion to the marriage state. Sigonius , a learned 1 
and well known scholar, would never marry, and alleged no inele- ^ 
giot reason ; that ^^ Minerva and Venus could not live together. " 

Matrimony has been considered by some writers as a condition ; ^ 
not so w^ suited to the circumstances of philosophers and men of ^^^ 
learning. There is a little tract which professes to investigate the xa , 
subject It has for title, De Matrimonio Literati, an caslibem 
esse , an verb nubere conveniat, i. e. of the Marriage of a Man 
of Letters, with an inquiry whether it is most pr(q)er for him to 
continue a bachelor, or to marry? 

^^ The author alleges the great merit of some women; par- 
ticularly that of Gonzaga the consort of Montefeltro, duke of Ur- 
bino ; a lady of such distinguished accomplishments , that Peter 
Bembus said , none imt a stupid man would not prefer one of her 
conversations to all the formal meetings and disputations of the 

^^ The ladies perhaps will be sui^rised to find that it is a ques- 
tion among the learned , Whether they ought to marry ? and will 
think it an unaccountable property of learning that it should lay 
Uie professors of it under an obligation to disregard the sex. But it 
is very questionable whether, in return for this want of complai- 
sance in them, the generality of ladies would not prefer the beau , 
and the man of fashion. However, let there be Gonzagas , they will 
find converts enough to their charms.'' 

The sentiments of Sir Thomas Brow ne on the consequences of ^ , , 
marriage are very curious, in the second part of his Religio Medici, . 
sect. 9. When he wrote that work , he said, ^' I was never yet once , \ 
and conunend their resolutions, who never marry twice.'' He calls 
woman *' the rib and crooked piece of man." He adds , '' I could ; 
be content that we might procreate like trees, without conjunction, 
or that there were any way to procreate the world without this tri- 
vial and vulgar way." He means the union of sexes, which he de- 
clares ^^ is the foolishest act a wise man commits in all his life, nor 
is there any thing that will more deject his cooled imagination, 
when he shaQ consider what an odd and unworthy piece of folly he 
hath committed." He afterwards declares he is not averse to that 
sweet sex , but naturally amorous of all that is beautiful -, ^' I could 
look a whole day with delight upon a handsome picture , though it 
be but of a horse." He afterwards disserts very profoundly on the ; 
music there is in beauty, " and the silent note which Cupid strikes ; > 
is far sweeter than the sound of an instrument." Such were his / 
sentiments when youthful, and residing at Leyden-, Dutch philoso- 

tn A LrraiRARY wite; 

pby bad at first chilled his passion \ it is probable tliat passion after- 
wards inflamed his philosQphy-*->for be married , and had sons and 

Dr. Ck)cchi' a modem Italian writer, fmt apparently a cynic as 
old as Diogenes , has taken the pains of composing a treatise on the 
present subject enough to terrify the boldest Bachelor of Arts! He 
has coloured up every chimera against the marriage of a literary 
man. He seems, howeyer, to have drawn his disgusting portrait 
from his own country; and the chaste beauty of BHtahi only looks 
the more lovely beside this Florentine nife. 

I shall not retain the cynicism which has coloured such revolttng 
features. When at length the doctor finds a woman as all women 
ought to be, he opens a new spring of misfortunes which must attend 
her husband. He dreads one of the probable consequences of matri- 
mony — progeny, in which we must maintain the children we beget! 
He thinks the father gains nothing in his old age from the tender 
ofilces administered by his own children : he asserts these are much 
belter performed by menials an(l strangers ! The more children he 
has , the less he can afford to have servants ! The maintenance of his 
children will greatly diminish his property ! Another alarming ob- 
ject in marriage is that, by affinity, you become connected with the 
relations of the wife. The envious and ill-bred insinuations of the 
mother, the family quarrels, their poverty or their pride, all disturb 
the unhappy sage who falls into the trap of connubial fehcity ! But 
if a sage has resolved to marry, he impresses on him the pruden- 
tial principle of increasing his fortune by it, and to remember bis 
^' additional expenses ! '' Dr. Cocchi seems to have thought that a 
human being is only to live fbr himself ; he had neither-a heart to 
feel, ahead to conceive, nor a pen that could have written one 
harmonious period, or one beautifhl image! Bayle, in his article 
Raphelengius , note B , gives a singular specimen of logical 
subtlety , in ** a reflection on the consequence of marriage/* / 
This learned man was imagined to have died of grief for hav- \ 
ing lost his wife , and passed three years in protracted despair. ' 
What therefore must we think of an unhappy marriage, since a 
happy one is exposed to such evils? He then shows that an unbapgy 
marriage is attended by beneficial consequences to the survivor. In 
this dilemma , in the one case , the husband lives afraid his wife will 
die, in the other that she will not! If you love her, you will always ^ 
be afraid of losing her*, if you do not love her, you will always be 
afraid of not losing her. Our satirical Celibataire is gored by the 
horns of the dilemma he has conjured up. 

James Peliver, a famous botanist , then a bachelor , the friend of 


Sir HnisSloaiie, Id an albuin signs his name with tUs designa- 
tiOQ :~ 

** From the Goal tatern in the Strand , London , Nov. 27. 
In the 34th year of m^ freedom , A. J). 1697." 


Some aothors excelled in this species of literary artifice. The 
Italian Doni dedicated each of his letters in a book called La Li^ 
hraria , to persons whose name began with the first letter of the 
qnstle , and dedicated the whole collection in another epistle -, so 
that the book , which only consisted of forty-fiye pages , was de- 
dicated to aboYc twenty persons. This is carrying literary mendicity 
pretty high. Politi , the editor of the Martyrologium Romanum , 
published at Rome in 1751, has improved on the idea of Doni <, for to 
Qie 365 days of the year of this Marty rology he has prefixed to each 
an episUe dedicatory. It is fortunate to have a large circle of ac- 
quaintance, though ttiey should not be worthy of being saints. Gal- 
land, the translator of the Arabian Nights, prefixed a dedication to 
each tale which he gave *, had he finished the ^^ one thousand and 
one/' he would have surpassed even the Mariyrologist. 

Mademoiselle Scudery tells a remarkable expedient of an Inge- 
nioas trader in this lin^--One Rangouze made a collection of letters 
which he printed without numbering them. By this means the book- 
binder put that letter which the author ordered him first ; so that 
idl the persons to whom he presented this book , seeing their names 
at (he head , considered they ^ad received a particular compliment. 
An Italian physician , having written on Hippocrates's Aphorisms , 
dedicated each book of his Commentaries to one of his fk'iends , and 
the index to another! 

More than one of our own authors have dedications in the same 
spirit. It was an expedient lo procure dedicatory fees : for publishing 
books by subscription was an art then undiscovered. One prefixed 
a different dedication to a certain number of printed copies , and 
addressed them to every great man he knew, who he thought re- 
lished a morsel of flattery, and would pay handsomely for a coarse 
luxury. Sir Balthazar Gerbier, in his ^' Counsel to Builders ,"" has 
made up half the work with forty-two Dedications, which he excu- 
ses by the examine of Antonio Perez \ but in these dedications Perez 
scatters a heap of curious things , for he was a very universal genius. 
Perez, once secretary of state to Philip II. of Spain, dedicates his 
" Qbras ," first to " Nuestro sanctissimo Padre ," and '' Al Sacro 
CoOegio,'' ttien foUows one to " Henry IV," and then one still more 
embracing, ** A todoi.''— Fuller, in his *' Church History," has 


with admirable contrivance introduced twelve title^ages, besides 
the general one, and as many particular dedications, and no less 
than fifty or sixty of those by inscriptions which are addressed to 
his benefactors ; a circumstance which Heylin in his severity did 
not overlook^ for'^^ making his work bigger by foAy sheets at the 
least ; and he was so ambitious of the number of his patrons , that 
having but four leaves at the end of his History, he discovers a 
particular benefactress to inscribe them to! '* This unlucky lady, the 
patroness of four leaves, Heyhn compares to Roscius Re^us, who 
accepted the consular dignity for that part of the day on which Ge- 
cina by a decree of the senate was degraded from it , which occa- 
sioned Regulus to be ridiculed by the people all his life after , as the 
consul of half a day. 

The price for the dedication of a play was at length fixed , fk-om 
five to ten guineas from the Revolution to the time of George I., 
when it rose to twenty ^ but sometimes a bargain was to be struck 
when the author and the play were alike indifferent. Sometimes the 
party haggled about the price , or the statue while stepping into his 
niche would turn round pn the author to assist his invention. A pa- 
tron of Peter Motteux, dissatisfied with Peter's colder temperament, 
actually composed the superlative dedication to himself, and com- 
pleted the misery of the apparent author by subscribing it with his 
name. This circumstance was so notorious at the time, that it occa- 
sioned a satirical dialogue between Motteux and his patron Heven- 
ingham. The patron, in his zeal to omit no possible distinction that 
might attach to him , had given one circumstance which no one but 
himself could have known. 

I mnit confeM I 'wu to bkme , 
That one particoUr to name; 
The rest could never have been known , 
/ made the style to like thjr own, 


I beg your pardon , Sir; for that 1 

Pateov. ^ 

Why d — — e what wonld you be at! 
I writ below myself, you sot! 
AToiding figures , tropes, what not ; 
For fear I should my fancy, raise 
Above the level of thy plays! 

Warton notices the common practice , about the reign of Ehza- 
beth , of an author's dedicating a work at once to a num[)er of the 
nobility. Chapman's Translation of Homer has sixteen sonnets 
addressed to lords and ladies. Henry Lock , in a collection of two 


hundred religious sonnets, mingles with such heavenly works the 
terrestrial composition of a number of sonnets to his noble patrons; 
and not to multiply more instances , our great poet Spenser, in 
compliance with this disgraceful custom , or rather in obedience to 
the establisheil tyranny of patronage , has prefixed to the Fairy 
Queen fifteen of these adulatory pieces, which in every respect are 
the meanest of his compositions. At this period all men , as well as 
writers , looked up to the peers, as on beings on whose smiles or 
frowns all sublunary good and evU depended. At a much later period, 
Elkanah Settle sent copies round to the chief party, for he wrote 
for both parties , accompanied by addresses to extort pecuniary 
presents in return, lie had latterly one standard Elegy, and one 
Epithalamium , printed off with blanks, which by ingeniously 
filling up with the printed names of any great person who died or 
was married , no one who was going out of life or was entering into 
it could pass scot-free. 

One of the most singular anecdotes respecting Dedications in 
English bibliography is that of the Polyglot bible of Dr. Gastell. 
Cromwell , much to his honour, patronised that great labour, and 
allowed the paper to be imported free of all duties , both of excise 
and custom. It was published under the protectorate, but many 
copies had not been disposed of ere Charles II. ascended the throne. 
Dr. CasteU had dedicated the work gratefully to Oliver, by mention- 
ing him with peculiar respect in the prefieice , but he wavered with 
Ricbard Cromwell. At the Restoration, he cancelled the two last 
leaves , and supplied their places with three others , which softened 
down the republican strains, and blotted Oliver's name out of the 
book of life! The difference in what are now called the republican 
and the loyal copies have amused the curious collectors *, and the 
former being very scarce are most sought after. I have seen the 
republican. In the Loyal copies the patrons of the work are mention- 
ed, but their m/e5 are essentially changed; Serenissimus , IHus- 
trissimusy and Honoratissinius , were epithets that dared not show 
themselves under the leyelling influence of the great fanatic repub- 

It is a curious literary folly, not of an individual but of the Spanish 
nation, who, when the laws of Castile were reduced into a code 
under the reign of Alfonso X. sumamed the Wise , divided the work 
into seven volumes; that they might be dedicated to ihe seven 
letters which formed the name of his majesty ! 

Never was a gigantic baby of adulation so crammed with the soft 
pap of Dedications as Cardinal Richelieu. French flattery even 
exceeded itself.— Among the vast number of very extraordinary 
dedications to this man, in which the Divinity itself is disrobed of 


lis alMbuteg to beBlow them on this miserable creature of TanHy, I 
suspect that eveo the foUowuig one is not the moii Uasphemoos 
he received. ^^ Who has seen your face without behig seiied by those 
softened terrors which made the prophets shudder when God 
showed the beams of his glory! But as he whom they dared nol 
to approach in the burning bush, and m the noise of thunders, 
appeared to them sometimes in the freshness of the zephyrs , so the 
softness of your august countenance dissipates at the same time , 
and changes into dew, the small vapours which cover its majesty.'^ 
One of these herd of dedicators, after the death (rf Richelieu, 
suppressed in a second edition liis hyperbolical panegyric , and as 
a punishment to himself, dedicated the work to Jesus Christ! 

The same taste characterises our own dedicationsin the reigns of 
Charles II. and James II. The great Dryden has carried it to an 
excessive height ^ and nothing is more usual than to compare the 
patron with the Dmnity — and at times a Cadr inference may be 
drawn that the former was more in the author's mind than God 
himself! A Welsh bishop made an apology to James I. for prefer^ 

ring the Deity to his Majesty ! Dryden's extravagant dedications 

were the vices of the time more than of the man ^ they were loaded 
with flattery, and no disgrace was annexed to such an exercise of 
men's talents; the contest being who should go fiurthest in the moat 
graceful way, and with the best turns of expression. 

An ingenious dedication was contrived by Sir Simon Degge , wtio 
dedicated <^ the Parson's Counsellor'' to Woods, Bishop of licb- 
field, with this intention. Degge highly complimented the Bishop 
on having most nobly restored the church , which had been demolish- 
ed in the civil wars, and was rebuilt but left unfinished by Bishop 
Hacket. At the time he wrote the dedication , Woods had not turned 
a single stone, and it is said, that much against his nill he did 
something, from having been so publicly reminded of it by this 
ironical dedication. 


The *'BoTANifc Garden" once appeared to open a new route 
through the trodden groves of Parnassus. The poet, to a prodigality 
of Imagination , united all the minute accuracy of Science. It is 
a higfaly-repolished labour, and was in the mind and in the hand of 
its author for twenty years before its first publication. The excessive 
polish of the verse has appeared too high to be endured throughout 
a long composition -, it is certain that , in poems of length , a versi* 
fication , which is not too florid for lyrical composition ,. wiU weary 
by its briHiancy. Darwin , inasmuch as a rich philosophical fancy 


cowttbiM a poet, poBBemeB fSbe eDtire art of poetry; no one lias 
carried the curious mechanisin of ^erse and tbe wtiflcial magic of 
poelical dictioo to a higher perfection. His volcanic head flamed with 
imagiDation, but his torpid heart slept unawakenedby passion. 
His standard of poetry is by much too Uadted -, he supposes that the 
esKoce of poetry is something of which a painter can make a picture. 
A picturesque Tense was with him a Terse completely poetical. But 
tbe language of the passions lias no connexion with this principle ; 
in truth, what he delineates as poetry itself, is but one of its pro- 
tiaeas. Deceiyed by his illusive standard , he has composed a poem 
which is perpetually fancy, and never passion. Hence his proces- 
^ooal ^ndour fatigues, and his descriptive ingenuity comes at 
toaglh to bedeflcient in novelty, and all \he miracles of art cannot 
swfr w with one touch of nature. 

]>escriptive poetry should be relieved by a skilful intermixture of 
PMsages addreesed to ttie heari as well as to the imagination : uniform 
description satiates ; and has been considered as one of the inferior 
bran^ of poetry. Of this both Thomson and Goldsmith were 
nasibie. In their beatttiOil descriptive poems they knew the art of 
uunatlng the pictures of Fancy with the glow of SEirnMSNT. 

Whatever may be thought of the originality of Darwin's poem , it 
has been preceded by others of a congenial disposition. Brookes's 
poem on '^Universal Beauty,'' published about 1735, presents us 
wift the Tery nodel of Darwin's versification ; and the Latin poem 
of De la Croix , in 1727, intiUed " Connubia Florum;' with his 
sufijeet. There also exists a race of poems which have hitherto [)een 
<^OBfined to one object^ which the poet selected from the works of 
nature , to embelHsh with all the splendour of poetic imagination. I 
baTe collected some titles. 

Perh^ it is Homer, in his battle of the/rogr5 and Mice, and 
Virg:il in the poem on a Gnat , attributed to him , who have given 
birth to these lusory poems. The Jesuits, particularly when they 
<^oiDposed in Latin verse, were partial to such subjects. There is a 
little poem on Gold, by P. Le Fevre , distinguished for its elegance; 
and Bnimoy has given the Art of making Glass; in which he 
has described its various productions with equal f^icity and know- 
ledge. P. Vani^re has written on Pigeons, Du Cerceau on Butter- 
flies, Tbe success which attended these productions produced 
numerous imitations, of which several were fovourably received. 
Vami^rc composed three on the Grape , the Vintage , and the 
kitchen Garden, Another poet selected Oranges for his theme; 
<^er8 have chosen for their subjects, Paper, Birds, and fresh- 
^ter Fish. Tarillon has inflamed his imagination with gunpowder; 
amflder genius, delighted with the oaten pipe , sang o^ Sheep; 


oBe who was more pleased with another kind of pipe , has writtea 
on Tobacco; and a droll genius wrote a poem on Asses. Two 
writers haye formed didactic poems on the Art of Enigmas, and 
on Ships. 

Others have written on moral subjects. Brumoy has painted the 
Passions, with a variety of imagery and vivacity of description^ 
P. Meyer has disserted on Anger; TariUon, like our StillingQeet, 
on the Art of Conversation ; and a lively writer has discussed the 
subjects of Humour and Wit. 

Giannetazzi, an Italian Jesuit, celebrated for his Latin poetry, 
has composed two volumes of poems on Fishing and Navigation. 
Fracastor has written delicately on an indelicate subject , his Syphi- 
lis. Le Brun wrote a delectable poem on Sweetmeats; another 
writer on Mineral Waters, and a third on Printing. Vida pleases 
with his Silk-^vorms and his Ctiess; Buchanan is ingenious with 
\A^ Sphere. Malapert has aspired to catch the Winds; the philo- 
sopher Huet amused himself with Salt, and again with Tea. The 
Gardens of Rapin is a finer poem than critics generaUy can write ; 
Quillet's CalUpedia, or Art of getting handsome Children, has 
been translated by Rowe ; and Du Fresnoy at length gratifies the 
connoisseur with his poem on Painting , by the embeUishmente 
which his verses have received from the poetic diction of Mason , 
and the commentary of Reynolds. 

This list might be augmented with a few of our own poets , and 
there still remain some virgin themes which only require to be 
touched by the hand of a true poet. In the " Memoirs of Trevoux " 
they observe , in their review of the poem on Gold; " That poems 
of this kind have the advantage of instructing us very agreeably. 
All that has been most remarkably said on the subject is united, 
compressed in a luminous order, and dressed in all the agreeable 
graces of poetry. Such writers have no little difScullies to encounter : 
the style and expression cost dear \ and still more to give to an arid 
topic an agreeable form , and to elevate the subject wi&out iMling 
into another extreme. — ^In the other kinds of poetry the matter 
assists and prompts genius ; here we must possess an abundance to 
display it. " 


Myles Davies's " Icon Libellorum, or a Critical History of 
Pamphlets , '' affords some curious information ^ and as this is a 
pamphlet-T^dL^kn^ age , I shall give a sketch of its contents. 

The author observers : '' From Pamphlets may be learned the 
genius of the age , the debates of the learned , the follies of the 
ignorant , the bevues of government , and the mistakes of the cour- 


tiers. Pantphlets ftirnish beaux with'their airs , cocpietles m\h their 
cbarnn. Pamphlets are as modish ornaments to gentlewomen's loilels 
as 10 gentlemen's pockets*, they carry reputation of wit and learning 
to aO Siat make them their companions*, the poor find their account 
in slaO keeping and in hawking them ^ the rich find in them their 
shortest way to the secrets of church and state. There is scarce any 
clas of people but may think themselves interested enough to be 
concerned with what is publisl^d in pamphlets, either as to their 
pmale instruction, curiosity,^ and reputation, or to the public 
advantage and credit ^ with all which both ancient and modem pam* 
l^iJets are too often over familiar and free. — In short, with pam- 
phlets the booksellers and stationers adorn the gaiety of shop-gazing. 
Hence accrues to grocers , apothecaries , and chandlers , good 
furnitare , and supplies to necessary retreats and natnrai occasions, 
h pamphlets lawyers will meet wilh their chicanery, physicians 
inth their cant, divines with their ShibfK>leth. Pamphlets become 
noieand more daily amusements to the curious , idle , ^d inqui- 
sitiTe ; pastime to gallants and coquettes ^ chat to the talkative ^ catch- 
words to informers •, fuel to the envious ; poison to the unfortunate ^ 
t^disam to the wounded ; employ to the lazy ; and fabulous materials 
to romancers and novelists. " 

This author sketches the origin and rise of pamphlets. He deduces 
them from the short writings published by the. Jewish Raiibins ^ 
various little pieces at the time of the first prc^gation of Ghristifr- 
nity •, and notices a certain pamphlet which was' pretended to have 
bm the composition of Jesus Christ, thrown from heaven, and 
picked up by the archangel Michael at the entrance of Jerusalem. 
It was copied by the priest Leora , and sent about from priest to 
jpriest, tin Pope Zachary ventured to pronounce it Si forgery. He 
notices several such extraordinary publications, many of which pro* 
^ced as extraordinary effects. 

He'proceeds in noticing the first Arian and Popish pamphlets, 
or rattier libels^ i. e. little books , as he distmguishes them. He 
relates a curious anecdote respecting the forgeries of the monks. 
Arcttishop Usher detected in a manuscript of St. Patrick's life, 
pretended to have been found at Louvain , as an original of a very 
remote date , several passages t^en , with little alteration , firom his 
own writings. ♦ p 

The foOowing notice of our unmortal Pope I cannot pass over : 
''Another class of pamphlets writ by Koman Cathcdics is that of 
Poems^ written chiefly by a Pope himself, a gentleman of that 
nan^r He pasBedi always amongst most of his acquaintani^ for what 
is commonly called a Whig-, for it seems th^ Koman politics are 
*Tided as well as Popish missionaries. However, one Esdras, an 


ppolhecary, as he qualifies himself, has puJUislied a piping-hot 
pamphlet against Mr. Pope's *'Hape of the XocA,' which he entitles 

* A Key to the Lock , ' wherewith he pretends to unlock nothing 
less than a plot carried on by Mr. Pope in that poem against the 
last and this present ministry and government.'' 

He observes on Sermons ^ — " 'Tis not inuch to be questioned, 
but of all modern pamphlets what or wheresoever, the English 
stitched Sermons be the most edifying , usefiil , aiKi instructive , 
yet they could not escape the critic^ Mr. Bayle's sarcasm* He says^ 
'R6publique des Lellres, 'March 1710, in his article London, 

* We see here sermons swarm daily from the press. Our eyes only 
behold manna : are you desirous of knowing the reason? It is, that 
the ministers being billowed to read their sermons in the pulpit, 
buy ail they meet with, and lake no other trouble than to read 
Ihem , and Ihiis pass for very able scholars at a very cheap rale ! ' " 

He now begins more directly the history of pamphlets , which he 
branches out from four different etymologies. He says, " However 
foreign the word Pamp/ilet may appear, it is a genuine English 
word, rarely known or adopted in any other language : its pedigree 
cannot well he traced higher than the latter end of Queen Eliza- 
fieth's reign. In its first state wretched must have been its ap- 
pearance , since the great linguist John Minshew, in his ^ Guide 
into Tongues/ printed in 1617, gives it the most miserable 
character of which any libel can be capable. Mr. Minshew says (and 
liis words were quoted by Lord Chief Justice Holt) ,• * A Pa3IPHLET, 
thatis Opusculum Stolidorum, the diminutive performance of fools; 
Itom «-«F, ally and wx'iStity I fill^ to wit, all places. According lo 
the vulgar saying , all things are f\ill of fools , or foolish things ^ for 
such multitudes of pamphlets , unworthy of the very name of libel^ 
I>eing more vile than common shores and the filth of beggars , and 
befng flying papers daubed over and I>esmeared with the foams of 
drunkards , are tossed far and near into the mouths and hands oti 
scoundrels-, neither will the sham oracles of Apollo be esteeidcd sa^ 
mercenary as a Pamphlet. ' " 

Those who will have the word to be derived from Pam, tbej 
famous knave of Loo , do not differ much from Minshew -, for \h& 
derivation of the word Pam is in all probability from ir«», all; of 
the whole or the chief oi the game. 

Under ^}A first etymological notion of Pamphlets may be com- 
prehended the vulgar stories of the Nine Worthies of the WorM, olj 
the seven Champions of Christendom , Tom Thumb , Valentine and| 
Orsoii , etc. as also most apocrypha lucubrations. The greatest col-| 
lection of this first sort of Pamphlets are the RabMnic traditions m 
the Talmud^ consisting of fourteen ^volumes in folk) , and ttii 


PopMi legetid» of The Liyes of the Sahits, which ttioi|gli hoi 
finished , form fifty folio Yolumes, all which tracts were originaUy 
in pamphlet forms. 

The second idea of the radix of the word Pamphlet is, that 
it lakes its derivations from wShy all, and (ptxit^i Ilov^e, signifying 
athing bdoyed by all^ for a pamphlet being of a sihall portable 
balk, and of no great price, is adapted to every one's understand- 
ing and reading. In this clauss may be placed all stitched books on 
serious subjects , the best of which Aigiiive pieces have been gene- 
ndly preserved , and even reprinted in coltoctions of some tracts , 
miscellanies , sermons , poems , etc. ^ and , on the contrary^ bulky 
vc^umes have been reduced, for the convenience of the public, 
into the fomiliar sliapes of stitched pamphlets. Both these methods 
have been thus censured by the majority of the lower house of 
convocation 1711. These abuses are thus represented :>^ They |iave 
re-published, and collected into volumes, pieces written long ago on 
the side of infidelity. They have reprinted togetherln the most con- 
tracted manner, many loose and licentious pieces , in order to their 
being purchased more cheaply, and dispersed more eMly. '' 

The Mrd original interpretatioB of the word SampUet may be 
that of the learned Dr. Skinner, in his Etfrnologicon LimgiuB 
AnglicancB , that it is derived from to Belgic word Pampier, si- 
gnifying a little paper, or libel. To this third set of Pamphlets may 
be reduced all sorts of printed single sheets , or half sheets , or any 
other quantity of single paper prints , such as Declarations , Re- 
monstrances , Proclamations , Edicts , Orders , Injunctions , Memo- 
rials , Addresses , Newspapers , eto. 

The Jourth radical signification of the word Pamphlet is that ho- 
mogeneal acceptation of it , viz. as it imports any little book , or 
small volume whatever, whether stitched or bound , whether good 
or bed , whether serious or ludicrous. The only proper Latin term 
for a Pamphlet is Libellus, or little book. This word indeed signifies 
in English an abusiv^e paper or little book, and is generaUy taken 
in the worst sense. « 

iMer all this display of curious literature , the reader may smile 
at the guesses of Etymologists ; particufarly when he is reminded 
that the derivation oi Pamphlet it drawn fh)m quite another mean- 
ing to any of the present , by Johnson , which I shall give for his 
immediate gratification. 

Pamphlet [par un filet , Fr. Whence this word is written an- 
cienfiy, and by Caiton , paunflet] a small book ^ properly a book 
sold unbound , and only stitched. 

The French have borrowed the word Pamphlet from us , and 
have the goodness of not disfiguring its orthography. Roast Beef is 


also id llie same predicament. I conclude that Pamphlets and Roast 
Beef heiye therefore their origin in our country. 

Pinkerton fkYOured me with the following curious notice con- 
cerning pampUets : — 

Of the etymon of pamphlet I know nothing ^ hut that the word 
is fare more ancient than is conmionly belieyed , take the following 
proof nrom the celebrated Philobiblion ^ ascribed to Richard de 
Bari, bisbop of Durham, but written by Robert Holkot, at hb 
desire , as M)rickis says , about the year 1344 , ( Fabr. Bibl. Medii 
iEvi , Yol. I. ) ; it is in the eighth chapter. 

'^ Sad revera libros non libras maluimus -, codicesque plus dilexi- 
mus quam florenos : ac panfletos exiguos phaleratis prffitulimus 

^' But , indeed , we prefer books to pounds ] and we love manu- 
scripts better than florins ; and we prefer small pamphlets to war- 

' This word is as old as Lydgate's time : among his works, qboted 
by Warton , is a poem " translated from a pamflete in Frensche." 


^^l^ '^ Myles Da vies has given an opinion of the advantages of Little 
Boolcs', wfth some humour. 

^^ The smallness of the size of a book was always its own commen- 
dation ^ as , on the contrary, the largeness of a book is its own dis- 
advantage , as well as terror of learning. In short , a big book is a 
scare-crow to the head and pocket of the author, student, buyer, and 
seller, as well a harbour of ignorance -, hence the inaccessible mas- 
teries of the inexpugnable ignorance and superstition of the ancient 
heathens , degenerate Jews , and of the popish scholasters , and ca- 
nonists entrenched under the frightAil bulk of huge , vast^ and in- 
numerable volumes ; such as the great folia that the Jewish rabbins 
fancied in a dream was giveti by the angel Raziel to his pupM Adam, 
containing all the celestial sciences. And the volumes writ by Zoro- 
aster, entiled The SimiKtude, which is said to have taken up no more 
space than 1,260 hides of cattle : as also the 25,000 , or, as some 
say, 36,000 volumes , brides 52^1esser MSS. of his. Thegrossness 
and multitude of AristoUe and Yarro's books were both a prejudice 
to the authors , and an hinderance to learning , and an occasion of 
the greatest part of them being lost. The largeness of Plutarch's 
treatises is a great cause of his being neglected, white Longinus and 
Epictetus , in their pamphlet Remains , are every one's companions. 
Origen's 6,000 volumes ( as Epiphanius will have it ) were not only 
the occasion of his venting more numerous errors , but also for the 


roost park of their perdition. — ^Were it not for Euclid's Elements, 
Hippocrates'g Aphorisms, Justinian's Institutes , and Littleton's Te- 
nures ID small pamphlet yolumas , young mathematicians , freshwa- 
ter physicians , ciYilian norioes , and les apprentices en la ley 
iJngleterrey would be aia Joss and stand, and total disencoorage- 
ment. One of the greatest advantages the Dispensary has o^er 
King Arthur is its pamphlet size. So Boileau's Lutrin , and his 
otber pamphlet poems,: in respect of Perrault% and dbapelain's 
St. Paulin and la Pucelle. These seem to pay a deference to the 
reader's qaiclfraiid great undemanding -, those to mifllrust his capa- 
city, and to confine his time as well as his intellect.'' 

Not^thslanding so much may be alleged in favour of books of a 
smaH size, yet the scholars of a ^rmer age regarded them with 
contempt. Scaliger, says BaiUet, cavils with Drusius for the smaUness 
of his hock$ ; and one of the great printers of the time (Moret , the 
successor of Plantin ) complaining to the learned Puteanus, who was 
coosiftoed as the rival of lipsius , that his books were too small for 
sale, »m1 tiiat purehasers turned away, frightened at their diminu- 
Uto size ; Puteanus referred him to Hutarch , whose works consist 
of small treatises ; but the printer took fire at the comparison , and 
turned him out of his shop , for his vanity at protending that he 
wrote in any manner like Plutarch ! a specimen this of the polite- 
ness and reverence of the early printers for their Itamed authors ; 
Jurieu reproaches Gokmiis that he as a great auAor of little 

At least, if a man is the author only of little books , he will es- 
<»pe the sarcastic observation of Cicero on a voluminous writer. — 
(hat ^^ his body might be burned with his writings ," of which wc 
have had several , eminent for the worthlessness and magnitude of 

It was the literary humoor of a certain Miecenas, who cheered 
tbe lustre of his patronage vrith the steams of a gdod dinner, ta 
ptooe his guests according to the sice and thickness of the books 
(key l|ad printed. At the bead of the table sat those who had publish- 
^ yxkfolia^foUissimOj next the authors in quarto -^ then those in 
octa^^. At that table Blackmore would have had the precedence of 
(^, Addison , who found this anecdote in one of the Anas , has 
seked this Met, and applied it with felicity of humour in No. 529 

Montaigne's works have been caMed by a Cardinal , *•' The Bre- 
viary of Idlers.'' It is therefore the book for many men. Francis Os- 
borne has a ludicrous image in favour of such opuscula. '^ Huge 
volumes , like the ok roasted whole at Bartholomew fair,^ may pro- 


claim plenty of labour, but afford less of what is delicate , saifoury, 
znA well-concocted , than smaller pieces/' 

In the list of titles of minor works , wluch Aulus Gellius has pre- 
served, the lightness and beauty of such compositions are charming- 
ly expressed. Among these we flnd-«a Basket of Flowers; an 
Embroidered Mantle \ and a Variegated Meadow. 


In a religious book published by a fellow of the Society of Jesus , 
entitled, ^^ The Faith of a Catholic," the author examines what con- 
cerns the incredulous Jews and other infidels. He would show that 
Jesus Christ , author of the rdigjon which bears his name , did not 
impose on or deceive the Apostles whom he taught ; that the Apostles 
who preached it did not deceive those who were converted ; and 
that those who were converted did hot deceive us. In proving these 
three not difficult propositions, he says, he confounds ^^ the Atheist , 
who does not believe in God ; the Pagan, who adores several ; the 
Deist, who believes in one God , but who rejects a particular Pro- 
vidence \ the Freethinker^ who presumes to serve God according 
to his fancy, without being attached to any religion \ the Philoso^ 
pher^ who takes reason and not revelation foi^ the rule of his belief: 
the Gentile, "^o^ never havhig regarded the Jewish people as a 
chosen nation , does n^t believe God promised them a Messiah ; and 
finally, the Jew, who reftises to adore the Messiah in the person of 

I have given this sketch , as it serves for a singular Catalogue of 
Heretics. * » 

It is rattier singular that so late as in the year 1765, a work should 
have' appeared in Paris, which bears the title I tran^te, ^^ The 
Christian Religion proved by a smgle fact ^ or a dissertation in 
which is sho^b that those Catholics of whom Huneric, King of the 
Vandals , cut the tongues , spoke miraculously afl the remainder 
of their days ; from whende is d^ced the consequences of this 
miracle against tM Arians , the Socfnians , and the Deists , and 
particularly against the author of Emilius , by solving their (tiffi- 
culties." It bears this Epigraph \Ecce Egaadmirationemfaciam 
populo huic, miraculo grandi et stupendoT' There needs no ftir^ 
ther account of this book than the title. 


AuTHOjts of moderate* capacity have unceasingly harassed the 
public ^ and have at length been rem^mb^rpd only, by the number 


of wretched volumes their unhappy industry has produced. Such an 
author was the Abb6 de MaroDes , dtherwise a most estimable and 
ingenious man , and the patriarch of print-collectors. 

This Abb^ was a most egregious scribbler ; and so tormented with 
Tiolent fits of printing , that he even printed lists and catalogues of 
his fHends. I haye eyen seen at the end of one of his works a list of 
names of those persons who had giyen him books. He printed his 
works at his own expense, as the booksellers had unanimously de- 
creed ttiis. Menage used to say of his works, ** The reason why I 
esteem the productions of the Abb6 is , for the singular neatness of 
their bindings -, he embellishes them so iieautifully, that the eye finds 
pleasure in them.'' On a book of his versions of the Epigrams of 
Martial , this critic wrote , Epigrams against Martial. Latterly, 
for want of employment , our Abb6 began a translation of the Bible ^ 
but having inserted the notes of the visionary Isaac de la Pcyrere, 
the work was burnt by order of the ecclesiastical court. He was also 
an abundant writer in verse, and exultingly told a poet, that his 
verses cost him little : ** They cost you whlat Chey are worth ," re- 
lied the sarcastic critic. De Marolles in his Memoirs bitterly com- 
plains of the injustice done to him by his contemporaries -, and says, 
that in spite of the little favour shown to him By the public, he has 
nevertheless published, by an accurate calculation, one hundred 
and thirty-three thousand one hundred and twenty-four verses! 
Tet this was not the heaviest of his literary sins. He is a proof that 
a translator may perfectly understand the language of his original, 
and yet produce an unreadable translation. 

In the early part of his life this unlucky author had not been 
without ambition; it was only when disappointed in his political pro- 
jects that he resolved to devote himself to Uterature. As he was in- 
capable of attempting original composition, he became known by 
his detestable versions. He wrote above eighty volumes , which have 
never found favour in the eyes of the critics ; yet his translations 
are not without their use , though they never retain by any chance 
a single passage of the spirit of their originals. 

The most remarkable anecdote respecting these translations is , 
that whenever this honest translator came to a difficult passage , he 
wrote in the margin : '' I have not translated this passage , because 
it is very difficult, and in truth I could never understand it." He 
persisted to the last in his uninterrupted amusement of printing 
books •, and his readers having long ceased , he was corapeUcd to 
present them to his friends , who , probably, were not his readers. 
After a literary existence of forty years, he gave the public a 
work net destitute of entertainment in his own Memoirs, which 
be dedicated to his relations and all his illustrious friends. The sin- 


gular postcript to his Epislle D^catory contains exceOenl adhFice 
for authors. 

f' I have omitted to tdi you , that I do not advise any one of my 
relatives or friends to apply himself as I |have done to study , and 
particularly to the composition of books, if he thinks that will add 
to his fame or fortune. I am persuaded that of iffl persons in the 
kingdom, none are more neglected than those who devote themselves 
entirely to literature. The smaU number of successful persons 
in that class ( at present I do not recollect more than two or tluree ) 
should not impose on one's understanding, nor any consequence 
from them be drawn in favour of others. I know how it is by my 
own experience , and by that of sevei^al amongst you , as well as by 
many who are now no more , and with whom I was acquainted. 
Believe me, gentlemen! to pretend to the favours of fortune it is 
only necessary to render one's self useful , and to be supple and ob- 
sequious to those who are in possession of credit and authority ^ to 
be handsome in one's person*, to adulate the powerful^ to smile, 
while you suffer from ihem every kind of ridicule and contempt 
whenever they shall do you the honour to amuse themselves with 
you; never to be frightened at a thousand obstacles which niay be 
opposed to one ^ have a face of brass and a heart of stone ; insist 
worthy men who are persecuted-, rarely venture to speak the truth; 
appear devout, with every nice scruple of religion, while at the 
same time every duty must be abandoned when It clashes with yoor 
interest. After these any other accomplishment is indeed super- 


Thb origin of the theatrical representations of the ancients have 
been traced back to a Grecian stiioUer singing in a cart to the honour 
of Bacchus. Our European exhibitions , perhaps as riide in their 
commencement , were likewise for a long time devoted to pious pur- 
poses , under the titles of Mysteries and Moralities. Of these primeval 
compositions of the drama of modem Europe , I have collected some 
anecdotes and some specimens- 

It appears that pilgrims introduced these devout spectacles. Those 
who returned f^om the Holy Land or other consecrated places com- 
posed canticles of their travels, and amused their religious (kncies 
by interweaving scenes of which Christ , the Apostles, and other 
objects of devotion, served as the themes. Menestrier informs us 
that these pilgrims travelled in troops, and stood in the public 
streets, where they recited their poems, wilfe thdr staff in han^ 
while their chaplets and cloaks , covered with shells and images of 



various coloim^ formed a picturesque exhiUlion, whkh at lenglb 
excited the piely.of the citizens to erect occasionally a stage on an 
exleosiye spot of ground. These spectacles served as the amusement 
aod instruction of the people. So attractiye were these gross exl^jjH^ 
tioos in the middle ages, that they formed one of the principal or^ 
Daments of the reception of princes on their public entrances. 

When the Mysteries were performed at a more improved period^ 
ibe actors were distinguished characters, and ft-equently consisted 
of the ecclesiastics of the neighbouring villages, who incorporated 
themselves under the title of Conf'rkres de la Passion. Their pnK 
ductioQs were divided, not into acts, but into different days of per- 
fonnance, and they were performed in the open plain. This was at 
least conformable to the critical precq[)t of that mad knighit whose 
opinion is noticed by Pope. It appears by a MS. in the Harieian 
library, that they were thought to contribute so much to the infor- 
mation and instruction of the people , that one of the Popes granted 
a pardon of one thousand days to every person who resorted peace- 
aUy to the i^ys performed hi the Whitsun-week at Chester, be- 
ginning with the ^'Creation,'' and ending vrith the ^^Genotf 
Judgment.'' These were performed at the expense of the different 
corporationi of that city, and the reader may smile at the ludicrous 
combinations. ^^ The Creation '' was performed by the Drapers; 
!be <' Deluge " by the Dyers-, '' Abrahson, Melchisedech, and 
1^/' by the Barbers ; '' The Purification '' by the Blacksmiths ; 
"The last Supper" by the Bakers; the** * Resurrection " by the 
SUnoers; and the <^ Ascension '' by the Tailors. In these pieces the 
actors represented the person of the Almighty without being sensible 
of the gross unpiely. S« unskiUhl were ttiey in this infancy of Oie 
U^trical art, that very serious consequences were produced by their 
ridiculous Uunders and ill-managed machinery. The followUig sin- 
gular anecdotes are preserved, concerning a Mystery which took up 
wvCTal days in the performance. 

** In the year 1437, when Conrad Bayer, bishop of Metz, caused 
Ibe Mystery of * the Passion ' to be represented on the plMn of 
Yeximel ne^ that city, Go^i. was an old gentleman ^ named 
Mr. Nicholas Neufchatel of Touraine, curate of Saint yictoi7 of 
Hetz , and who was very near expiring on the cross had he not been 
tiinely assisted. He was%o enfeebled, that it was agreed aftother 
priest should be placed on the cross the next day , to finish the 
representation of the person crucified, and which was done \ at the 
same time Mr. Nicholas underto6k to perfcym ' The l^urreclion ,' 
which being 9 less difficult task, he did, it admirably well.— An- 
other prie^ , whose name ym& Mr. John «e Nicey, curate of Met- 
raoge , personated Jtdas , and he had like to have been stifled while 


he hang on the tree, for his neck slipped -, ttiis being at leogfh 
luckily perceived, he was quickly cot down and recovered. 

John Bouchet, in his ^'Annates d'Aquitaine /' a work which 
contains many curious circumstances of the times , written witti 
that agreeable simplicity which characterises the old writers, informs 
us , that in 1486 he saw played and exibited in Mysteries by persons 
of Poitiers, " The Nativity, Passion , and Resurrection of Christ," 
in great triumph and splendour *, there were assembled on this 
occasion most of the ladies and gentlemen of the neighbouring 

We will now examine the Mysteries themselves. I prefer for Ihis 
purpose to give a specimen firom the French , <niich are livelier 
than our own. It is necessary to premise to the reader, that my 
versions being in prose will probably lose much of that quaint et- 
pre&sion and vulgar naix^etA which prevail through the originals, 
written in octosyllabic verses. 

One of these Mysteries has for its subject the election of an 
apostle to supply the place of the traitor Judas. A dignity so awful 
is conferred in the meanest manner^ it is done by drawing straws, 
of which he who gets the longest becomes the apostle. Louis Ghoc- 
quet was a favourite composer of these religious performances : 
when he attempts the pathetic , he has constantly recourse to devils; 
but, as these characters are sustained with little propriety, his pa- 
thos succeeds in raising a laugh. In the foUowing dialogue Anne 
and^Calaphis are introduced conversing about St. Peter and St. John. 

I remember them once fvtj honest people. They h«re often brought teir fish to 
my house to sell. 


Is this true? 

By God, it is true; my servants remetqher them very well. To live more it their 
ease they htve left off business ; or perhaps they wer^ in w«nt of customers. Since 
tliat time they have followed Jesos, that wicked heretic, who has taught them nagicj 
the fellow understands necromancy, and is the greyest magician alive, is far as Rome 

St. John , attacked by the satellites of Domilian, amongst whom 
the author hasplaped Longinus and Patroclus , gives regular answers 
to their insulting interrogatories. Some of these I shall transcribe; 
but leave to the reader's conjectures the replies of the Saint, whicli 
are not difiieidt to anticipate. 



You tell «u slivigtf things, to say there is but one God m three persoM. 


h U any where laid that we miut believe joor old propheU (wkh whom your 
aemory leems OTerbnrdeaed) to he more perfect than our godf ? 


Too Biut be very cnmiing to maintain impouihilities. Now listen to me : It Itpoi- 
iihle that a virgin can bring forth a child withooA ceasing to be a virgin? 


WiQ yoe ooC change these foolish sentiments ? Would yoa pervert ns ? Will yon not 
coBTot yourself? Lords! you perceive now very clearly what an obstinate fellow 
this is ! Therefore let him be stripped and put into a great caldron of boiling oil. Let 
him die at the Latin Gate. 


The great devil of hell fetch me if I don*t Latinise him well. Ifever diall they hear 
St the Latin Gate any one sing so well as he shall sing. 


1 dare ventnre to say he won*t complain of being troun. 


Frita, run quick ; bring wood and coals , and make the caldron ready. 


I promise him, if he has the goat or the itch, he will soon get rid of them. 

SL John dies a perfect martyr, resigned to the boiling oil and 
gross Jests of Patroclus and Longinus. One is astonished in the pre- 
sent limes at the excessive absurdity, and indeed blasphemy, ^hich 
flie ^ters of these Moralities permitted themselves , and , what is 
more extraordinary, were permitted by an audience consisting of a 
whple town. An extract from the ** Mystery of St. Denis" is in 
fbeBuke dela Yalli^re's ^^Biblioth^e du Th^Atre Francois depuis 
SOD engine : Dresd^, 1768." 

The emperor Domitian , irritated against the Christians , perse- 
cutes them , and thus addresses one of his courtiers : — 

V i gngu rs Eomains, j*ai eDtttidn Eoman lords , I nnderstaad 

Que d'on crocifix, d*an pendo. That of a cracified, hanged man, 

Oniait un Diea par notre empire , They make a God in our kingdom , 

^s oe ^*on le nons daigne dire. Without even deigniog to ask onr per- 

mission. • 

He then orders an officer to seize on Dennis in France. When 
t^ officer arrives at Paris ^ Uie inhabitants acquaint him of the 
ni[ttd and grotesque progress^of this flifure saint : — 

Sire, il pr^he un Dien a Paris ' Sir, he preaches a God at Paris 

^Qai (sit tout les monts etjes raub. TVho has made mouiiUiirand valley, 

n Ts 4 cheyal sans cheranls. He goes a horseback without horses, 

n fait et dHait tout ens«pble. He doc» and undoes at once. 


n Ttfcy ilmeort, il tue, U tremble. He liret, he diet, he tweaU, helremUes. 

1 1 pleore , il tU , il reille , et dort. He weept , he liaght, he wakei, and tleeps 

II est jenne et tI^hx , foible et ibrt. He is yoang and old , weak aad strong. 

II fait d*im coq nne pooleCte. He tnrnf a cock into a hen. 

II jooe det aits de roolette. He knows how to conjure with cap and 


On je ne s^aia qne ce pent ^tre. Or I do not know who this can be. 

Another of these admirers says , evidently aUuding to the rite of 

Sire , ojez qne fait ce fol prestre : Str^ hear what this mad priest does : 

n prend de Vjtme en nne escnele , He takes water oot of a ladle , 

Et gete anx gens snr la cerrele. And, throwing it at people's heads , 

Et dit qne partant, sontsanr^ ! He says that when they depart, they are 

saved I 

This piece then proceeds to entertain the spectators with the tortures 
of St. Dennis , and at length , when more than dead, they merci- 
ftiUy behead him : the Saint, after his decapitation , rises very quietly, 
takes his head under his arm , and walks off the stage in all the 
dignity of martyrdom. 

It is justly observed by Bayle on Qiese wretched representations, 
that while they prohibited the peofde from meditating on the sacred 
history in the book which contains it in all its purity and truth, 
they permitted them to see it on the theatre sullied with a thousand 
gross inventions, which were expressed in the most vulgar manner* 
and in a farcical style. Warton , with his usuiA elegance , obsenes, 
^^ To those who are accustomed to contemplate the great picture 
of human follies which the unpolished ages of Eurqie hold up to 
our view, it will not appear surprising that the people who were 
forbidden to read the events of the sacred history in the Bible, In 
which they are faithftiUy and beautUViUy related, should at thasame 
time be permitted to see them represented on the stage disgraced 
with the grossest improprieties , , corrupted with inventions and 
additions of the most ridiculous kind, sulliel with impurities, aid 
expressed in the language and gesticulations of the lowest fircf.'- 
Elsewhere he philosophically observes that, however, they had 
their use , " not only teaching the great truths of scripture to men 
who couM not read the Bible ; but in abolishing tU^ barbarous attach- 
ment to military gaines and the bloody cpntentions t>f the tourna- 
ment, which had so long prevailed*a« the sole species of populir 
an^usement. Rude , and even ridiculovis as th^y were , they soClcQ^ 
the manners of the people by diverting the public attention to spec- 
tacles in which the mind was concerned, and by creating a regard 
for other arts than those of bodily strength and savage valour." 

Mysteries are to be distinguished from Moralkies, and Farces ^^ 


and Settles. Moralities are dialogues where ttie interiocufors re- 
presented feigned or lallegorical personages. Farces were more 
exacflj what their titte indicales— obscene, gross, and dissolute 
representations, where botti the actions and words are alike repre* 

The Softies were more forcicallhah farce, and frequently had 
the licentiousness of pasquinades. I shall give an ingenious speci- 
men of one of (he Morauties. This Morality is entitled '^The 
Condemnation of Feasts , to the Praise of Diet and Sobriety for the 
fienefit of the Human Body." 

The perils of gormandising form the present subject. Towards 
the close is a trial between Feasting and Supper. They are sum- 
moned before Experience, the Lord Chief Justice! Feasting and 
Supper are accused of half ing murdered four persons by force of 
gorging them. Experience condemns Feasting to the gallows,* 
and his executioner is Diet. Feasting asks for a father-confessor, 
and makes a public confession of so many crimes , such numerous 
conyuMons , apoplexies , head-aches , stomach-qualms , etc. which 
he has occasioned , that his executioner Diet in a rage stops his 
mouth, puts the cord about his neck , and strangles him. Supper 
is only condemned to load his hands with a certain quantity of lead, 
to hinder him from putting too many dishes on taJUe : he is also 
boond oter to remain at the distance of six hours' wetting from 
Dinner under pain of death. Supper feUcitates himself oh his 
escape, and swears to observe the mitigated sentence. . 

The MoEAUfiES were allegorical dramas, whose tediousness 
seems to hate ddighted a barbarous people not yet accustomed to 
pwcdye that what was obTious might be omitted to gi^t advantage : 
tike children , everything must be told in such an age ^ their own 
unexercised hnagination cannot supply anything. 

Of the Farces ttie licentiousness is extreme , but their pleasant^ 
ry and Oieh" humour are not contemptible. The *' Village Lawyer ," 
wtfeh is never exhibited on our stage v^out producing the broad- 
est mirth , originates among Uiese ancientWolleries. The homo^ 
roiis incident of the shq[Aerd, who having stolen his master's 
sheep,^ is advised by Ins lawyer only to, reply to his Judge by mi* 
micUng the bleating of a sheep , and when ttie lawyeb in return 
cliims h» fee , pays him by no other coin , is discovered in these 
SBcient forces. Bruyes got up Uie ancient farce of the ^^ Patelin '' 
in 1702 , and we borrowed it from him. 

They Imd another species of drama still broader than Farce, and 
nnre strongly featured by the grossness , the severity , and perso- 
nality of satire :-*-these v^re called Souiesy of which the follovring 


one I findlQ the Duke de la YaUi^re's '' BibUoQi^que da Tb6^ 

The actors come on the stage with their fools'-caps each ^ianling 
the right ear, and begin with sh*inging satirical proverbs, tiU, after 
drinking freely, they discover that their fools'-capa want the right 
ear. They call on their old <grand-mother SotUe (or Folly), who 
advises them to take up some trade. She introduces this progeny of 
her fools to the Worlds who takes them into his service. The 
World tries their skill, and is much displeased with their work. | 
The Cobler-iooi pinches his feet by making the shoes too small; 
the TozTbr-fool hangs his coat too loose or too tight about him; the 
Prie5t-fool says his masses either too short or too tedious. They aD 
agree that the World doe» not kno^ what he wants , and must be 
sick , and prevail upon him to consult a physician. The World 
obligingly sends what is required to a Urine-doctor, who iiistffliiJf 
pronounces that " the World is as mad as a March liare! '* He 
comes to visit his patient , and puts a great many questions on his 
unhappy state. The World replies , ^' that what most troubles his 
head is the idea of a new deluge by fire , which must one day con- 
sume him to a powder ^ '' on which the physician gives this an- 
swer : — 

Et te tronbles-ta poor ceU ? And yon really , trouble yourself about tbii? 

Monde, tn ne te tronblea pat Oh World J yon do not trouble yooncM 


De Toir cei larrons attrapenrs Seeing those impudent rascals 

Yendre et ach^er benefices ; Selling and buying livings ; 

Les enfans en bras de* nonrrices , Children in the arms of dieir norses 

Estre Abb^ , Ev^qnes , Prienrt , Made Abbots , Bishops and Priors 

Cheraocher tris bien les deux somrs , Intriguing with girls. 

Tucr les gens pour Icnrs plaisirs , KiUing people for their pleasures , 

Jouer le lenr, Tantrui atisir, Minding their own interests , and seising 

on what belongs to another, 

Donner aux flattenrs audience , Lending their ears to flatterers , 

Faire la guerre a toute entrance Making war, exterminating war, 

Poor on rien entre les chresti^ns! For a bubble, among christians! 

Tlw World takes leave of his physician , but retains his advice; 
and to cure his fits of melancholy gives himself up entirely to Ihe 
direction of his fo(^. In a word, the World dresses himself in the 
coat *and c^p of Folly ^ and he becomes as gay and ridiculous as tte 
rest of the fools. 

This iSott^ was represented in the year 1524. . ^ \ 

Such was the rage for nlysteries, that Ren6 d'Anjov , King of 

Naples apd Sicily, and Count of Provence , had them magniflcenlly 

represented and made them a serious concern. Being in Provence , 

and liaving received leitecs from his son the Prince of Calabria, 


who asked him for an immediate aid of men , he replied , that ^^ he 
bad a yery ditfereot matter in hand , for he was fuUy employed in 
setUing the order of a Mystery — in honour of God.'' 

Strutt , in his ^^ Manneis and Customs of the English /' has given 
a description of the stage in England when mysteries were the only 
theatrical performances. Vol. iii. p. 130. 

^' In the early dawn of literature , and when the sacred mysteries 
were the only theatrical performaaces , what is now called the stage 
did then consist of three several platforms , or stages raised one 
above another. On the uppermost sat the Pater CcelesUs y surroood- 
ed with his Angels^ on the second appeared the Holy Saints , and 
glorified men^ and the last and lowest was occupied by mere men 
who had not yet passed from this transitory life to the regions of 
eternity. On one side of this lowest platform was the resemblance of 
a dark pitchy cavern from whence issued appearance of fire and 
flames \ and when it was necessary, the audience were treated with 
hideous yellings and noises as imitative of the bowlings and cries of 
the i^Tetched souls tormented by the relentless demons. From this ' 
yaikiung cave the devils themselves constantly ascended to dehght 
and to instruct the spectators: — to delight, because they were 
usually the greatest jesters and buCToons that then appeared -, and to 
instruct, for that they treated the wretched mortals who were 
delivered to them with the utmost cruelty, warning thereby aU men 
carefully to avoid the falling into the clutches of such hardened and 
remorsdess spirits.'' Ad anecdote relating to an English mystery 
presents a curious specimen of the manners of our country, which 
then couM admit of such a representation ; -the simplicity, if not 
the libertinism , of the age was great. A play was acted in one of 
the principal cities of England, under the direction of the trading 
companies of that city, before a numerous assembly of both sexes, 
wherein Adam and Eve appeared on the stage entirely naked, 
performed their whole part in the representation of Eden , to the 
serpent's temptation, to the eating of the forbidden fruit, the 
perceiving of, and conversing about their nakedness , and to the 
supplying of fig-leaves to cover it. Warton observes they had the 
authority of scripture for such a representation, and they gave 
mailers just as they found them in the third chapter of Genesis. 
The following article will afford the reader a specimen of an Elegant 


Ohb of the most elegant Mbralilies was composed by Louise 
^ *, Ike Aspasia of Lyons in 1j550 , adored by her contemporaries, 


With no ^xlraordinary beauty , she boweter diq[)la7ed the fasci- 
nation of classical learning , and a tetn of vernacolar poetry refined 
and fiinciM. To ftccomplisbments so various sbe added the singular 
one of distinguishing bersdf by a military spirit, and was nick- 
named Captain Louise. She was a fine rider anda fine lutanist. She 
presided in the assemblies of persons of literahve and distinction. 
Married to a ropennanufacturer, she was caHed La belle Cordikre y 
and her name is stiH perpetuated by that of the street she tired in. 
Her anagram was BeUe h soy. — But she was belle also for others, 
iler Morals in one point were not correct , but her taste was nerer 
gross : the ashes of her perishable graces may preserre ttiemselves 
saened from our seyerity^ but the productions of her genius may 
stiU d^ht. 

Her Morality entitled ^'D^atde Folic et d' Amour—the Contest 
of Love and Folly,'' is divided into five parts, and contains six 
mythological or allegorical personages. Thisdivisiou resembles oar 
five acts , which , soon after Uie publication of this Morality, became 
generally practised. 

In the first part , Loue and Folly arrive at the same moment at 
the gate of Jupiter's palace , to Join a festival to which he had invi- 
ted the Gods. Folly observing Zoi^e just going to step in at the hall , 
pushes him aside and enters first. Loi^e is enraged, but Folly 
insists on her precedency .-Zover^ perceiving there wa^ no reason- 
ing with Folly, bends his bow and shoots an arrow; but she bafOed 
his attempt by rendering herself invisible. She in her turn becomes 
furious , falls on the boy, tearing out his eyes , and then covers 
them with a bandage which could not be taken off. 

In the second part, Loi^e, in despair for havUig lost his sight, 
implores the assistance of his mother-, she tries in vain to undo the 
magic fillet ; the knots are never to be unloosed. 

In the third part , Yenus presents herself at the foot of the throne 
0f Jupiter to complain of the outrage committed by Folly on her 
son. Jupiter commands Folly to appear. — She repUes , that though 
she has reason to justify herself, she will not venture to plead her 
cause , as she is apt to speak too much , or to omit what should be 
^id. FoUyBsks for a counsellor, and chooses' Mercury-, Apollo is 
detected by Tenus. The fourth part consists of a long dissertation 
between Jupiter and Lo\^e, on the manner of loving. Lo\^e advises 
Jupiter, if he wislies to t^te of truest happiness , to descend on earth, 
to lay dawn all his nuijesty , and , in the figure of a mere mortal , to 
ples#e some beautiful maiden : ^^ Then wilt thou feel quite uiotlnr 
4^ntentmenl than that thou hast hitherto eo^yed : instead of a single 
pleasnre it will be doubled ; for thera is as much pleasuce to be 
loved as to love.'' Jupiter agrees that this may be true, but he 


thinks fbat lo attain this it requires too much time, too much 
trooMe, too many attentions, — and that after all it is not worth 

In the fifth part, Apollo , the advocate for Venus , in a long plead- 
ing demands Justice against Folly. The Gods , seduced by his 
eloquence, show by their indignation that they would condemn 
FoUf without hearing her advocate Mercury. But Jupitec com- 
mands sflence, and Mercury replies. His pleading is as long as the 
adyerse party's , and his arguments in favour of Folfy- are so plau- 
sible, that when he concludes his address, the gods are divided in 
opinion *, some espouse the cause of Lo\^e, and some that of Folfy ^ 
Jupiter, after trying in vain to make them agree together, pronounces 
this award: — 

'^Ott account of the difficulty and importance of your disputes 
and the diversity of your opinions , we have suspended your contest 
from this day lo three times seven times nine centuries. In the 
mean time we command you to live amicably together, without 
injuring one another. Folfy shall lead Loye, and take him whi- 
thersoever he pleases , and when restored to his sight, the Fates may 
pronounce sentence.'' 

Many beautifiil conceptions are scattered in this iftegant morality. 
It has given birth to suf^equent imitations -, it was too original and 
playiU an idea not to be appropriated by the poets. To this morality 
we perhaps owe the panegyric of Folfy by Erasmus , and the Loi^e 
and Folfy of La Fontaine. 


I SHALL notice a class of very singular works, in which the 
spirit ofranance has been called in to render religion more attractive 
toeertain heated imaginations. 

In the fifteenth century was published a little book of prayers , 

iccoropanied by figures, both of a very uncommon nature for a 

I religious publication. It is entitled Hortulus Animce cum Ora- 

\tmcuUs aUquibus super odditis quce in prioribus Libris non 


i It is a small octavo en lettres Gothiques printed by John 
Granninger, 1500. " A garden ," says the authors '' which abounds 
*ith flowers for the pleasure of the soul^" but they are full of 
poison. In spite of his fine promises, the chief part of these medi- 
ations are as puerile as they are superstitious. This we might excuse, 
because the ignorance and superstition of the times allowed such 
^^] but the figures which accompany this work are to be 
«<HHtemned in all ages •, one represents Saint Ursula and some of 

I. JO 



her eleven thousand virgins , with all the licentious inventions of 
an Aretine. What strikes the ear does not so much irritate the 
senses, observes the sage Horace, as what is presented in all its 
nudity to the eye. One of these designs is only ridiculous : David is 
represented as examining Bathsheba bathing, while Gupid hoYe^ 
ing throws his dart, and with a malicious smile triumphs in his 
success. We have had many gross anachronisms in similar designs. 
There is a laughable picture in a village in Holland , in which 
Abraham appears ready to sacrifice his son Isaac by a loaded blun- 
derbuss; but his pious intention is entirely frustrated by an angel 
urining in the pan. In another painting, the Virgin receives the 
annunciation of the angel Gabriel with a huge chaplet of beads tied 
round her waist, reading her own offices, and kneeling befbre a 
cnlcifix; another happy invention, to be seen on an altar-piece at 
Worms , is that in which the Virgin throws Jesus in the hopper of 
a miU y while from the other side he issues changed into little mor- 
sels of bread, with which the priests feast the people. Matthison , a 
modern traveller, describes a picture in a church at Constance, 
called the Conception of the Holy Virgin. An old man lies on a 
cloud, whence he darts out a vast beam, which passes through a 
dove hovering Just below; at the end of a beam appears a large 
transparent egg, in which egg is seen a child in swaddling clothes 
with a glory round it. Mary tits leaning in an arm chair, and opens 
her mouth to receive the egg. 

I must not pass unnoticed in this article a production as extrava- 
gant in its design , in which the author prided himself in discussing 
three thousand questions concerning the Virgin Mary. 

The publication now adverted to was not presented to the world 
in a barbarous age and in a barbarous country, but printed^ Paris 
in i668. It bears for title. Devote salutation des Membres sacres 
dii Corps dela Glorieuse Fierge, Mhre de Dieu. That is, " A 
Devout Salutation of the Holy Members of the Body of the Glorious 
Virgin, Mother of God." It was printed and published with an 
approbation and privilege ! which is more strange than the work 
itself. Valoiff reprobates it in these Just terms : *' What would Inno- 
cent XI. have done, after having abolished the shameful Office of 
the Conception, Indulgences , etc. if he had seen a volume in 
which the impertinent devotion of that visionary monk caused to be 
printed, with permission of his superiors. Meditations on all the 
Parts of the Body of the Holy Virgin? Religion , decency, and goodj 
sense, are equally struck at by such an extravagance." I give a spe- 
cimen of the most decent of these salutations. 



Salutation to the Hair. 

" I salute you, charming hair of Maria! Rays of the mystical 
sun! Lines of the centre and circumference of all created perfection ! 
Veins of gold of the mine of love ! Chains of the prison of God ! Roots 
of Ihe tree of life ! Rivulets of the fountain of Paradise ! Strings of the 
bow of charity ! Nets that caught Jesus , and shall be used in the 
bunting-day of souls!'' 

Salutation to the Ears. 

'' I salute ye , intelligent ears of Maria! ye presidents of the 
princes of the poor! Tribunal for their petitions^ salvation at the * 
audience of the miserable ! University of all divine wisdom ! Recel- I 
vers general of all wards! Ye are pierced with the rings of our 
chains; ye are impearled with our necessities ! '' i 

The images , prints , and miniatures , with which the cattiolic I 
refigion has occasion to decorate its splendid ceremonies, have fre- 
quently been consecrated to the purposes of love : they have been 
so many votive offerings worthy to have been suspended in. the ^ 
temple of Idalia. Pope Alexander YI , had the images of the Virgin 
made to rq>resent some of his mistresses^ the Damons Yanozza, his 
iavourile, was placed on the altar of Santa Maria del Popolo^ and 
Julia Famese furnished a subject for another Virgin. The same 
genius of pious gallantry also visited our country. The statuaries 
made the queen of Henry III. a model for the face of the Virgin 
^Mary. Heam elsewhere alfirms , that the Virgin Mary was gene- t 
rally made to bear a resemblance to the queens of the age , which , 
1 00 doubt, produced some real devotion among ihe Courtiers. I 

The prayer-books of certain pious libertines were decorated with 
the portraits of their favourite minions and ladies in the characters 
of saints , and even of the Virgin and Jesus. This scandalous practice 
was particularly prevalent in that reign of debauchery in France , 
when Henry III. held the reins of government with a loose hand» 
In a missal once appertaining to the queen of Lewis 1^1. may be 
seen a mitred ape , giving its benediction to a man prostrate before 
it; a keen reproach to the clergy of that day. Charles V. , however 
pioitt that emperor affected to be, had a missal painted for his 
uasfi-ess by the great Albert Burer, the borders of which are 
crowded with extravagant grotesques, consisting of apes, who were J 
sometimes elegantly sportive , giving clysters to one another, and | 
in more offensive attitudes , not adapted to heighten the piety of i 
^ Royal Mistress. This missal has two French verses written by 
(he Emperor himself, who does not seem to have been ashamed of 


his present. Ttie Italians carried this taste to excess. The manners of 
our country were more rarely tainted with this deplorable licen- 
tiousness , although I have observed an innocent tendency towards 
it , by examining the illuminated manuscripts of our ancient me- 
trical romances : while we admire the vivid colouring of these 
splendid manuscripts , the curious observer will perceive that 
almost every heroine is represented in a state which appears incom- 
patible with her reputation. Most of these works are , I believe , by 
French artists. 

A supplement might be formed to religious indecencies from the 
Golden Legend, which abounds in them. Henry Stephens's Apology 
for Herodotus might be likewise consulted with effect for the same 
purpose. There is a story of St. Mary the Egyptian , who was 
perhaps a looser liver than Mary Magdalen ; for not being able to 
pay tor her passage to Jerusalem , whither she was going to adore 
the holy cross and sepulchre, in despair she thought of an expe- 
dient in lieu of payment to the ferryman, which required at least 
going twice , instead of once , to Jerusalem as a penitentia] pil- 
grimage. This anecdote presents the genuine character of certain 

Melchior Inchoffer, a Jesuit , published a book to vindicate the 
miracle of a Letter which the Virgin Mary had addressed to the 
citizens of Messina : when Naud6 brought him positive proofs or its 
evident 'ibrgery, Inchoffer ingenuously confessed the imposture, 
but pleaded that it was done by the orders of his superiors. 

This same letter of the Virgin Mary was like a donation made 
to her by Louis the Eleventh of the whole county of Boulogne, 
retaining, howcyer, for his own use the revenues !T\as solemn 
act bears the date of the year 1478 , and is entitled , " Conveyancy 
of Louis the Eleventh to the Virgin of Boulogne, of the right and 
title of the def and homage of the counly of Boulogne , which is 
held by the Count of Saint Pol , to render a faithful account before 
the image of the said lady. '^ 

l^aria Agreda , a religious visionary, wrote the Life oj the 
Virgin. She informs us that she resisted the commands of God 
and the holy Mary till the year 1637, when she began to compose 
this curious rhapsody. When she had finished this original pro- 
duction , her confessor advised her to bum it •, she obeyed. Her 
friends, however, who did not think her tess in^ired than she in- 
formed them she was, advised her to rewrite the work. Wh«i 
printed it spread rapidly from country to country : new editions 
appeared at Lisbon , Madrid , Perpignan , and Antwerp. It was tlie 
rose of Sharon for those climates. There arc so many pious absur- 
dities in this book , which were (bund to give such pleasure to thu 


devoai , that it was solemnly honoured with' the censure of the Sor* 
bonne ; and it spread the more. 

The head of this lady was quite turned by her religion. In the 
first SIX chapters she relates the visions of the Virgin, which induced 
her to write her own life. She begins the history ah ovo, as' it may 
be expressed *, for she has formed a narrative of what passed during 
the nine months in which the Virgin was confined in the womb of 
her naother St. Anne. AAer the birth of Mary she received an aug- 
mentation of angelic guards *, we have several conversations^ which 
God held with the Virgin during the first eighteen months afler her 
birth. And it is in this manner she formed a circulating novel, 
which delighted the female devotees of the seventh century. 

The worship paid to the Virgm Mary in Spain and Italy exceeds 
that which is given to the Son or the Father. When they pray to 
Mary, their imagination pictures *a f)eautif\il woman , they really 
feel a passion; while Jesus is only regarded as a Bambino , or 
inflBQia at the breast, and the Father is hardly ever recollected ; but. 
the Madona, la Senhoray la Maria Santa, while she inspires, 
(hdr religious inclinations , is a mistress to those who have none. 

Of similar works there exists an entire race, and the libraries of 
the curious may yet preserve a shelf of these religious nouvellettes. 
The Jesuits were the usual authors of these rhapspdies. I find an 
account of a book which pretends to describe what passes in 
Paradise. A Spanish Jesuit published at Salamanca a volume in- 
foHo , 1652 , entitled Empyreologia. He dwells with great compla- 
cency on the Joys the celestial abode -, there always will be music 
' in heaven with material instruments as our ears are already accus- 
tomed to : otherwise he thinks the celestial music would not be 
music for us ! But another Jesuit is more particular in his accounts. 
He positively assures us that we shall experience a supreme pleasure 
in kissing and embracing the bodies of the blessed ; they will bathe 
in the presence of each other, and for this purpose there are most 
agreeable baths m. which we shall swim like fish ^ that we shall all 
warU&as sweetly as larks and nightingales^ that the angels will 
dress themselves in female habits , their hair curled ^ wearing petti- 
<^ts and fardingales , and with the finest linen ; that men and 
Borneo will amuse themselves in masquerades , feasts , and balls. — 
Women will smg more agreeably than men to heighten these en- 
IcHainments, and at the resurrection will have more luxuriant 
^f^sses, ornamented with ribands and head-dresses as in this 


Soeh were the books once so devoutly studied , and which 
<i<Hibtles8 were oflen literally understoofi. How very bold must the 
ainds of the Jesuits have been , and bow very humble those of 


their readers , that such exCravagancies should eyer te published 1 
And yet, even to the time in which I am now writing ,—CTeo at 
this day, — the same picturesque and impassioned pencil is employed 
by the modem AposUes of Mysticism— the Swedenborghians ,— 
the Moravians , — the Methodists! 

I find an account of another book of this class, ridiculous enough 
to be noticed. It has for title, *' The Spiritual Kalendar , composed 
of as many Madrigals or Sonnets and Epigrams as there are days in 
the year-, written for the consolation of the pious and the curious. 
By Father G. Cortade, Austin Preacher at Bayonne, 1665. " To 
give a notion of this singular collection take an Epigram addressed 
to a Jesuit , who, young as he was , used to put spurs under his 
shirt to mortify the outer man ! The Kalendar-poet thus gives a 
point to these spurs : — 

11 ne poorra done plot ni roer ni heimir 
Sons le mde ^peron dont to faU son rapplice; 

Qni yit jamais tel artifice, 
De piqaer un cheral poor le mieox retenir I 


Tonr body no more will neigh and will kick. 
The point of the spur most eternally prick: 
Whoever contrived a thing with such skill , 
To keep sparring a horse to make him stand still! 

One of the most extravagant works projected on the subject of the 
Virgin Mary was the following :— Tlie prior of a convent in Paris 
had reiteratedly entreated Yarillas the liistoriaii to examine a work 
composed by one of his monks ^ and of which — not being himself 
addicted to letters — ^he wished to be governed by his opinion. 
Yarillas at length yielded to the entreaties of the prior ^ and t6 
regale the critic , they laid on two tables for his inspection seven 
enormous volumes in-folio ! 

This rather disheartened our reviewer^ but greater was his 
astonishment , when , having opened the first vo|ume , he found its 
title to be Summa Dei-parce^ and as Saint Thomas had made a 
Sum, or System of Theology, so our monk had formed a System 
of the Virgin! He immediately comprehended the design of our 
good father, who had laboured on this work fhll thirty years , and 
who boasted he had treated Three Thousand Questions concerning 
the Virgin \ of which he flattered himself not a single one had ever 
yet been imagined by any one but himself ! 

Perhaps a more extraordinary design was never known. YariOas, 
pressed to give his judgment on this work, advised the prior with 
great prudence and goodnature to amuse the honest old monk 
with the hope of printing* these seven folios, but always to start 


80ID& new difficulties ; for it would be iuhuinan to occasion so deep 
a ebagrin to a man who had reached his 74th year, as to inform 
him of the nature of his favourite occupations \ and that after his A^^*^ 
death he shoiUd throw the seven folios into the fire. 





— — BsHTLBT , long to wrangling tchook confined, 
And but hj books aoqnainted with manliind — — ^ k- X / 

To MiLTOH lending sense , to HoRAd wit , / ' 

He makes them write , yhat never poet writ. 

Dr. Bentley's edition of our English Homer is sufflcieoUy 
known by name. As it stands a terrifying beacon to conjectural cri- 
ticism , I shall just notice some of those violations which the learned 
critic ventured to commit with all the arrogance of a Scaliger. This 
man , so deeply versed in ancient learning , it will appear was des- 
titute of taste and genius in his native language. 

Our critic , to persuade the world of the necessity of his edition , 
imagined a fictitious editor of Milton's Poems : and it was this 
iDgenuity which produced all his absurdities. As it is certain that 
Ibe blind bard employed an amanuensis , it was not improbable 
tbat many words of similar sound , but very different signification , 
might have disfigured the poem *, but our Doctor was bold enough 
to conjecture that this amanuensis interpolated whole verses of his 
own composition in the ^^ Paradise- Lost ! '' Having laid down this 
fotal position , all the consequences of his f(^y naturally followed it. 
Tet if there needs any conjecture, the more probable one will be, that 
MOton , who was never careless of his future fame , had his poem 
read to him after it had been published. The first edition appeared 
in 1667, and the second in 1674 , in which all the faults of the for- 
mer edition are continued. By these Jauhs, the Doctor means what 
he considers to be such : for we shall soon see that his ^^Canons 
of Criticism '' are apocryphal. 

Benttey says that he will supply the want of manuscripts to collate 
(Id use his own words) by his own "SAGAaxY," and "happy 

Milton , after the conclusion of Satan^s speech to the fallen angels, 
proceeds thus :— 

1. He ipake : tnd to oonfinn his words oat flew 

2. Millions of flaming sworn ds/ drawn from the thighs 
3. 'Of mighty cherubim : the sndden blase 

4. Far ronnd iUamin*d hell ; hif^j they rag*d 

5. Against the Highest; and fierce with grasped Arms 

6. Clashed on their sonnding Bhields the din of war, 

7. Hurling defiance tow'xd the ?a.iilt of Heaven. 


In this passage /which is as perfect as human mi can make , the 
Doctor alters three words. In the second line he puts blades ins- 
tead of swords *j in the fifth he puts swords instead of arms; and in 
the last line he prefers walls to vault. All these changes are so 
HAany defcedations of the poem. The word swords is far more poe- 
tical than blades, which may as well be understood of knives as 
swords. The word arms, the generic for the specific term, is still 
stronger |pd nobler than swords; and the beautiful conception of 
"vault, which is always indefinite to the eye, while the solidity 
of walls would but meanly describe the highest Heaven , gives an 
idea of grandeur and modesty. 

Milton writes , book i. v. 63 — 

No light y bat rather dabkhiss TisiBrji 
Served only to discover sigfato of woe. 

Perhaps borrowed trom Spenser : — 

A little glooming light, much like a shade. 

Faery Queen, b. i. c. 2. at. 14. 

This fine expression of ^'darkjnbss visible'' the Doctor's cri- 
tical sagacity has thus rendered clearer : — 

'* lib light, bat rather ▲ TmAmrxououa gloom.** 

Again our learned critic distinguishes the 74th line of the first 
book — 

Ai from the centre thrice to the ntmost pole, 

as ** a vicious verse ," and thei:efore with " happy coi^Jectore^" and 
no taste , thrusts in an entire verse of his own composition — 


Milton writes — 

Oar torments , also , may in length of time 

Become oar elements. R. ii. ver. 274. 

Bentley corrects 

'* Then, AS WAS will obskrv'd , oar torments may 
Become oar elements." 

A curious instance how the insertion of a single prosaic expression 
turns a fine verse into something worse than the vilest prose. 

To' conclude with one more instance of critical emendation : 
Milton says, with an agreeable turn of expression ,— 

So parted th«y ; the angel ap to heaven , 
From the thick shade ; and Adam to his bower. 

Bentley "conjectures" these two verses to be inaccurate, and in 
lieu of the last writes— 


** Adam, to RUicnrATB on past biscoursb.'* 

Aod (hen our erudite critic reasons I as thus : — 

Aflerthe couTersation bet^veen the Angel and Adam in the bower, 
it may be well presumed that our first parent waited on his hea- 
venly guest at his departure to some httle distance from it , till 
he began to take his flight towards heaven ^ and therefore ** saga- 
ciously'' thinks that the poet cauld not with propriety say that 
Ihe Angel parted from the thick shade y that is, the bower, to go 
lo heaven. But if Adam attended the Angel no farthe/r than the door 
or entrance of the bower, then he shrewdly asks, "How Adam 
could return to his bower if he was never out of it?" 

Our editor has made a thousand similar corrections in his edi- 
tion of Milton! Some have suQiected thai the same kind intention 
which prompted Dryden to persuade Creech to undertsd^e a trans- 
lation of Horace influenced those who encouraged our Doctor, in 
thus exercising his *' sagacity" and "happy copjecture" on the 
epic of Milton. He is one of those learned critics who have happily 
'^elucidated their author into obsojurity/' and comes neare^to that 
^' true conjectural critic" whose practice a Portuguese saurist so 
greatly admired : by which means, if he be only followed up by 
future editors, we might have that immaculate edition, in which 
litUe or nothing should be found of the original ! 

I have collected these few instances as not uninteresting to men 
of taste \ they may convince us that a scholar may be familiarised to 
Greek and Latin, though a stranger to his vernacular literature^ 
and that a verbal critic may sometimes be successtlil in his attempts 
on a single word, though he may be incapaUe of tasting an entire 
sentence. Let it also remain as a gibbet on the high roads of hte- 
ralure^ that ^^conjectural critics" as they pass may not forget 
flie unhappy fate of Bentley . 

The following epigram appeared on this occasion : — 

OH MiLT0ir*8 Bxicunoaui. 

Did MuTOv's PROAK , O Charles I thy death defend ? 

A fbrioi|s foe> imcoDsciotu, proves a fiioid ; 

On MiLTOv's YiasB does BbittUt coament? kaow, 

▲ weak ofBcions friend becomes a foe. 

WhUe he would seem his aothor^s fame to further, ' 

The MuaDsaous critic has ayeog'd thy murder. 

The classical learning of Bentley was singular and acute ^ but ^he 
eradition of words is frequently fomid not to be allied to ttie sen- 
sibility of taste. 



When L'Adyoicat published bis concise Biographical Dictionary, 
the Jansenists, the mettiodists of France, considered it as having 
been written with a view to depreciate the merit of their friends. 
The spirit of party is too soon alarmed. The Abb6 Barral undertook 
a dictionary devoted to their cause. In this labour, assisted by his 
good friends the Jansenists , he indulged all the impetuosity and 
acerbity of a splenetic adversary. The abb^ was, however, an able 
writer ; his anecdotes are numerous and well chosen \ and his style 
is rapid and glowing. The work bears for title ^^Dictionnaire His- 
torique , Litt^raire et Critique des Hommes C^ldbres ,'' 6 vols. 8yo. 
1759. It is no unuseful speculation to observe in what manner a 
faction represents those who have not been its favourites : for this 
purpose I select the characters of Fenelon, Cramner, and Luther. 

Of Fenelon they write, " He composed for the instruction of the 
Dukes of Burgundy, Anjou, and Berri, several works-, amongst 
others , the Tetemachus-^-a singular book, which partakes at once 
of the 4|aracter of a romance and of a poem , and which substitutes 
a prosaic cadence for versification. But several luscious pictures 
would not lead us to suspect that this book issued from the pen of 
a sacred minister for the education of a prince \ and what we are 
told by a famous poet is not improbable , that Fenelon did not com- 
pose it at court , but that it is the fruits of his retreat in his diocese. 
And indeed the amours of Calypso and Eucharis. should not be the 
first lessons that a minister ought to give his scholars ; and, besides, 
the fine moral maxims which the author attributes to the Pagan 
divinities are not well placed in their mouth. Is not this rendering 
homage to the demons of the great truths which we receive fh>m 
the Gospel , and to despoil J. C. to render respectable the annihi- 
lated gods of paganism? This prelate was a wretched divine, more 
fiBoniliar with the light of profane authors thafi with that of the 
fathers of the church. Phelipeaux has given us , in his narrative of 
' Quietism ,' the portrait of the friend of Madame Guyon. This 
archbishop h A a lively genius , artfUl and suiqple , which can flatter 
and dissimulate , if ever any could. Seduced by a woman , he was 
solicitous to spread his seduction. He Joined to the politeness and 
elegance of conversation a modest air, which rendered him amiable. 
He spoke of spirituality with the expression and the enthusiasm of 
a prophet; with such talents he flattered himself that every thing 
would yield to him." 

In this work the Protestants , particulariy the fli^t Reformers , 
find no quarter ; and thus virulently their rabid Catholicism exults 
over the hapless end of Cranmer, the first protestant archbishop : — 


^'Thomas Granmer married the sister ofOsiaoder. As Henry YIII. 
detested married priests , Cramner kept this second mariage in pro- 
fiNmd secrecy. This action serres to show the character of this gieat 
refonner, who is the hero of Burnet, whose history is so much es- 
teemed in England. What blindness to suppose him an Athanasius , 
who was at once a Lutheran secretly married , a consecrated arch- 
fnshop under the Roman pontiff whose power he detested , saying 
tbe mass hi which he did not believe , and granting a power to say 
it! The diyine rengeance burst on this sycophantic courtier, who 
had always prostituted his conscience to his fortune/' 

Their character of Luther is quite Lutheran in one sense , for 
Lnther was hiaiself a stranger to moderate strictures : — 

^^ The fbrioQS Luther, perceivmg himself assisted by the credit 
of sereral princes , broke loose against the church with the most in- 
yeterate rage , and rung the most terrible alarum against the pope. 
Accordhig to him we should have set fire to every thing , and re- 
duced to one beap of ashes the pope and the {Nrhices who supported 
him. Nothing equals the rage of this phrenetic man , who was not 
satisfied witti exhaling his fUry in horrid declamations , but who was 
for patting all in practice. He raised his excesses to the height by 
inveighing against the vow of chastity, and in marrying pubhcly Ca- 
fiieiine de Bore , a nun , whom he enticed , with eight others, from 
their convents. He had prepared the minds of the people for this 
inflHDDus proceeding by a treatise which he entitled ^ Ibuunples of 
the Papistical Doctrine and Theology,' in which he condemns the 
praises which aU the saints had given to continence. He died at 
length quietly enough , in 1546 , at Isleben , his country place— 
God reserving the terriUe effects of his vengeance to another life.'' 

Cranmer, who perished at the stake, these fanatic religionists 
proclaim as an example of ^^ divine vengeance ; ^' but Luther, the 
true parent of the Reformation, ^' died quietly at Isleben :'' this 
must have puzzled theur mode of reasoning ] but they extricate them- 
s^es out of the dilemma by the usual way. Their curses are never 
what the lawyers call ^^ lapsed legacies.'' 


It would be no uninteresting literary speculation to describe the 
(fiflkulties which some of our most favourite works encountered in 
their manuscript state, and even after they had passed through the 
press. Sterne , when he had finished his first and second volumes of 
Tristram Shandy, offered them to a bookseller at York for fifty 
pounds ^ but w§s reftised : he came to town with his MSS. ^ and he 
and Robert Dodsley agreed in a manner of which neither repented. 


The Rosciad , with all its merit , lay for a considerable time in a 
dormant state , till Gharchill and his publisher became impatient , 
and almost hopeless of success. — Bum's Justice was disposed of by 
its author , who was weary of soliciting booksellers to purchase the 
MS. , for a trifle , and it now yields an annual income. Collins burnt 
his odes before the door of his publisher. The pubhcation of 
Dr. Blair's Sermons was refused by Strahan , and the ^^ Essays 
on the Immutability of Truth ,'' by Dr. Beattie , could find no 
publisher, and was printed by two friends of the author, at their 
Joint expense. 

^' The sermon in Tristram Shandy '' (says Sterne , in his preface 
to his Sermons) ^* was printed by Itself soine years ago , but could 
find neither purchasers nor readers.'' When it was inserted in his 
eccentric work, it met with a most favourable reception, and oc- 
casioned the others to be collected. 

Joseph Warton writes, ^' When Gray publi^ed his exquisite Ode 
on BtoQ College , his first publication , litfie notice was taken of it" 
The Polyeucte of Corqeille , which is now accounted to be his mas- 
ter-piece , when he read it to the literary assembly held at the H6tel 
de Rambouillet, was not approved. Voiture came the next day and 
in gentle terms acquainted him with the unfavourable opinion 
of the critics. Such ill judges were then the most fashionable wits of 

It was with great difllculty that Mrs. CentKvre could get her 
*' Busy Body" performed. Wilks threw down 'his part with an oath 
of detestation — our comic authoress fell on her knees and wept. — 
Her tears , and not her wit , prevailed. 

A pamphlet published in the year 1738 , entitled ^^ A Letter to 
the Society of Booksellers , on the Method of forming a ti:ue lodg- 
ment of the Manuscripts of Authors ,'^ contains some curious literary 
intelligence , and is as follows : * 

'' We have known books ," says our writer, " that in the MS. 
have been damned , as welt as others which seem to be so , since , 
after their appearance in the world , they have often lain by neg- 
lected. Witness the ^ Paradise Lost' of the fomous Milton , and the 
Optics of Sir Isaac Newton, which last , 'tis said , had no character 
or credit here till noticed in France. ^ The Historical Connection of 
the Old and New Testament ,' by Shuckford , is also reported to 
have been seldom inquired after for about a. twelvemonth's time; 
however, it made a shift , though not without some difficulty, to 
creep up to a second edition', and afterwards even to a third.' And , 
which is another remarkable instance , the manuscript of Dr. Pri- 
deaux's ' Connection' is well known (o have been bandied about 
from hand to hand among several , at least five or six , of the most 


emineiit booksellers , during the space of at least two years , to no 
puipose , none of them undertaking to print that exceUenl work. It 
lay in obscurity, till Archdeacon Echard, the author's friend, strong- 
ly recommended it to Tonson. It was purchased , and the publica- i 
tion was very successftil. Robinson Crusoe's manuscript also ran ' 
through the whole trade , nor would any one print it , though the 
writer, De Foe , was in good repute as an author. One bookseller at 
last, not remarkable for his discernment, but for his speculative 
turn , engaged in this publication. This bookseller got above a 
thousand guineas by it ; and the booksellers are accumulating money 
every hour by editions of this work in all shapes. The undertaker of 
the translation of Hapin , after ^ very considerable part of the work 
had been published, was not a little dubious of its success , and was 
strongly inclined to drop the design. It proved at last to. be a most 
profitable literary adventure.'* It is, perhaps, useftil to record, that 
while the fine compositions of genius and the elaborate labours of 
erudition are doomed to encounter these obstacles to fame, and never 
are but slightiy remunerated, works of another description are re- 
warded in the most princely manner; at the recent sale of a book- 
seller, the copyright of ^' Vyse's Spelling-book" was sold at the 
enormous price of 2,200/. \ with an annuity of 50 guineas to the 


Whatever may I)e the defects of the " Turkish Spy," the author 
has shown one uncommon merit , by having opened a new spe- 
cies of composition , which has been pursued by other writers with 
inferior success , if we except the charming " Persian Letters " of 
Montesquieu. The " Turkish Spy" is a book which has delighted 
our chiUlhood , and to which we can still recur with pleasure. But 
ils ingenious author is unknown to three parts of his admirers. 

In Boswell's ^^ Life of Johnson" is this dialogue concerning the 
writer of the " Turkish Spy." '' B.— Pray, Sir, is ' Turkish Spy ' a 
genuine book? J. — ^No, Sir, Mrs. Manley, in her ' Life ,' says, that 

her father wrote the two first volumes ,• and in another book 

' Dunton's Life and Errours,' we find that the rest was written by 
one Sauk, at two guineas a sheet, under the direction of Dr. Midge- 

I do not know on what authority Mrs. Manley advances that her 
felher was the author •, but this lady was never nice in detailing facts. 
Bunion, indeed, gives some of)servation in a very loose manner. He 
tells us , p. 242 , that it is probable , by reasons which he insinuates, 
thaw one Bradshaw^ a hackney author, was the writer of the 
" Turkish Spy." This man probably was engaged by Dr. Midgeley 


to translate the volumes as they appeared , at the rate of 40^. per 
sheet. On the whole , all this proves , at least , how little the auClior 
was known while the y<4umes were publishing and that he is as little 
known at present by the extract ft'om Boswell. 

The ingenious writer of the Turkish Spy is John Paul Marana^ 
an Italian ; so that the Turkish Spy is Just as real a parsonage as 
Cid Hamet^ from whom Cervantes says he had his ^^ History of 
Don Quixote.'' Marana had been imprisoned for a political conspi- 
racy ; after his release he retired to Monaco, where he wrote the 
*'. History of the Plot , " which is said to be valuable for many cu- 
rious particulars. Marana was at once a man of letters and of the 
world. He had long wished to reside at Paris ; in that emporium 
of taste and luxury his talents procured him patrons. It was during 
his residence there that he produced his ^^ Turkish Spy.'' By this 
ingenious contrivance he gave the history of the last age. He dis- 
plays a rich memory, and a lively imagination -, but critics have 
said that he touches every thing , and penetrates nothing. His first 
three volumes greatly pleased : the rest are inferior. Plutarch , Se- 
neca , and Pliny, were his favourite authors. He lived in philoso- 
phical mediocrity ^ and in the last years of his life retired to his 
native country, where he died in 1693. 

^harpentier gave the first particulars of this ingenious man. 
^en in his time the volumes were read as they came out , while its 
author remained unknown. Charpentier's proof of the author is in- 
disputable ; for he preserved the following curious certificate , writ- 
ten in Marana's own hand-writing. 

" I , the under-written John Paul Marana, author of a manu- 
script Italian volume, entitled ' LEsploratore Turco^ tomo terzo, 
acknowledge that Mr. Charperitier , appointed by the Lord Chan- 
cellor to revise the said manuscript , has not granted me his certi- 
ficate for printing the said manuscript, but on condition to rescind 
four passages. The first beginning, etc. By this I promise to sup- 
press from the said manuscript the places above marked , so that 
there shall remain no vestige ; since , without agreeing to this , the 
, said certificate would not have been granted to me by the said 
Mr. Charpentier ; and for surety of the above , which I acknowledge 
to be true , and which I promise punctually to execute , I have sign- 
ed the present writing. Paris, 28th September, 1686. 

' ' John Paul Marana. " 

This paper serves as a curious instance in what manner the cen- 
sors of books clipped the wings of genius when it was fpund too 
daring or excursive. 

These rescindings of the Censor appear to be marked by Marana 


in the printed work. We find more than once chasms, with these 
words : ^^ the beginning of this letter is wanting in the Italian tran- 
slatian; the original paper being torn.'' 

No one has yet taken the pains to observe the date of the first 
editions of the French and the English Turkish Spies , which wouM 
settle the disputed origin. It aiq)Qars by the document before us , 
to have been ODginally written in Italian , but prof)ably was first 
published in French. Does the English Turkish Spy differ from the 
French one? 


Thb characters of these three great masters of English poetry are 
sketched by Fuller, in bis " Worthies of England.'' It is a literary 
morsel that must not be passed by. The criticisms of those who liv- 
ed in or near the times when authors flourished merit our obser- 
vation. They sometimes elicit a ray of intelligence , which later 
opinions do not always give. 

He observes on Spenser — "The many Chaucerisms used (for 
1 will not say affected by him) are thought by the ignorant to be 
blemishes y known by^e learned to be beauties, to his book ; 
whieh , notwithstanding ^ had been more saleable , if more con- 
formed to our modem language,'' 

On JoNSON . — ' ' His parts were not so ready to run qfthemsehes, 
as able to answer .the spur \ so that it may be truly said of him, 
that he had an elaborate wit, wrought out by his own industry. 
—He would sit silent in learned company, and suck in ( besides 
wine) their several humours into his observation. What was ore 
in others, he was able to refine himself. 

'^ He was paramount in the dramatic part of poetry , and taught 
*he stage an exact conformity to the laws of comedians. His come- 
dies were above the Folge (which are only tickled with downright 
obscenity), and took not so well at the^r^t stroke as at the ra- 
bound, when beheld the second time ; yea , they wiU endure read- 
ing so' long as either ingenuity or learning, are fashionable in our 
nation. If his latter be not so spritefal and vigorous as his first pieces 
all that are old will, and all who desire to be old should , excuse 
him therein." 

On Shakspeare. — " He was an eminent instance of the truth 
<^thal rule, poeta nonfit, sed nascitur; one is not made, but 
toni a poet. Indeed his learning was J&ut very little ; so that as 
Cornish diamonds are not polished by any lapidary, but are point- 
^ and smoothed , even as they are taken out of the earth , so Na- 
^e itself was all the art which was used upon him. 


'^Many were the wOrcombats betwixt him and Ben Joosor, 
which two I behold like a Spanish great galleon y^A an English 
man of war. Master Jonson (like the former) was builj far higher 
in learning^ solid, but slow in his performances. Shakspeare, 
with an English man of war, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, 
could turn with all tides , and take advantage of all winds, by the 
quickness of his wit and inyention.*' 

Had these ^^ Wit-combats/' between Shakspeare and Jonson, 
which Fuller notices , been chronicled by some faithful Boswell of 
the age , our literary history would have received an interesting 
accession. A letter has been published by Dr. Berkenhoutl tJatipg 
to an evening's conversation between our great rival bards , and 
AUeyn the actor. Peele, a dramatic poet , writes to his friend Mar- 
low, another poet. The Doctor unfortunately in giving this copy did 
not recollect his authority. ^c^ 

" FRIEND mArLOW , 3 " ^ "''^ ^ ^^^ 

^' I never longed for thy companye mipre than last night : we were 
all very merrye at the Globe , where Ned Alleyn did not scruple to 
af&nne pleasantly to thy friend Will , thaUie had stolen his speeche 
about the qualityes of an actor's excelleucye in Hamlet his Tragedye, 
fh)m conversations manyfold which had passed between them , and 
opinyons given by Alleyn touchinge this subject. Shakspeare did 
not take this talk in good sorte -, but Jonson put anend to the strife, 
by wittylie remarking^ — this affaire needeth no contention : you 
stole it from Ned , no dqubt , do not marvel ^ have you not seen him 
act times out of number? '' 

This letter is one of those ingenious fbrgeries which the lafc 
George Steevens practised on the literary antiquary ; they were not 
always of this innocent cast. The present has been frequently quoted 
as an original document. I have preserved it as an example of lite- 
rary Forgeries, and the danger which literary historians incur by 
such nefarious practices. 


Ben Jonson , like most celebrated wits, was very unfortunate ia 
concUiatiog the afTections ef his brother ivriters. He certainly pos- 
sessed a great share of arrogance, and was desirous of ruling the 
realms of Parnassus with a despotic sceptre. That he wias not always 
successful in his theatrical compositions is evident from his abusing, 
in their title-page, the actors and the public. In this he has been 
imitated by Fielding. I have collected the following three satiric 


odes, wrUlen when the reception of his '' New Inn , or The Lie/n 
Bean ," warmly exasperated the irritable disposition of our poet. 

He printed the title in the following manner : 

'' New Inn , or The Ught Hearty a Comedy never acted , but 
most negMgenUy played by some , the King's servants ; and mere 
squeamishly beheld and censured by others, the King's subjects 
1629. Now at last set at liberty to the readers , his Majesty's servant! 
and subjects , to be judged , 1631 ." 

At the end of this play he published flie foUowing Ode , in which 
he threatens to quit the stage for ever 5 and turn at once a Horace 
an AnacreoQ, and a Pindar. ' 

" The just indignation the author took at the vulgar censure of 
his play, begat this following Ode to himself : 

Come, leave the loathed stage. 
And the more loathsome age; 
"Where pride and impudence ( in fasliion knit) 

Usurp the chair of wit 
bditing and arraigmng ererj day 
Something they call a play. 
Let their fastidions, Taine 
Commission of braine 
Rnn on, and rage, sweat, censure, and condemn; 

They were not made for thee,— less tfaon for them. 
Say that thoa ponr*st them wheat. 
And they wiU acorns eat ; 
*Twere simple fnry, still, fliyseirto wast* 

On snch as have no taste ! 
To offer them a snrfeit of pare bread^ 
Whose appetites are dead ! 
I?o , give them graines their fill, 
Bnsks, draff, to drink and swill. 
If they loTe lees, and leave the lusty wine , 
Envy them not their palate with the swine. 

If o donbt some mouldy tale 
Like PsRicxBS ', and stale 
As the shriere's crusts, and nasty as his fish. 

Scraps, out of every dish 
Thrown fordi, and rak*t into the common-tub , 
Blay keep up the play-club : 
There sweepings do as well 
As the best order*d meale. 
For who the relish of these goests wiUfit, 
Needs set them but the almes-basket of wit. 

And much good do*t you then , 
Brave plush and velvet men 
Can feed on orts, and safe in your stage clothes , 
Dare quit, upon your oathes, 

• This play, Langbaine says , is written by Sbalspearc. 


The stagers, and tbc slage-wrighu to© (your paeri). 
Of larding your large ears 
With Uieir foul comic »ock$ , 
Wrought upon twenty block* : 
Which, if they're torn, and tnrn'd, and palchM enough. 
The gamesters share your guilt, and you their stuff. 

J^ave things so prostitute, 
And take the Alcseick lute. 
Or thine own Horace , or Auacreott*s lyre ; 

Warm thee by Pindar's fire; 
And, tho* thy nerves be shrunk, and blood be cold^ 
Ere years have made thee old. 
Strike that disdainful heat 
Throughout, to tfieir defeat ; 
As curious fools, and euTious of thy strain , 
May , blushing , swear no palsy's in thy brain ' . 

But when Uiey hear thee sing 
The glories of thy King, 
His aeal to God , and , his just awe o'er men 

They may blood-shaken then, 
F«el such a flesh-quake to possess their powers , 
As they shall cry like ours , 
In sound of peace, or wars, 
no harp ere hit the stars, 
In tuning forth the acUof his sweet reign. 
And raising Charles his chariot 'hove his wain. 

This Magisterial Ode, as Langbaine calls it, was answered by 
Owen Fehham, author of the admirable '' Resolves," who has 
written with great satiric acerbity the retort corteous. His character 
of this poet should be attended to :— 


Come leave this sawcy way 
Of baiting those that pay 
Dear for the sight of your declining wit : 

'Tis known it is not fit 
That a sUle poet , just contempt once thrown , 
Should cry up thus is own. 
I wonder by what dower, 
Or patent , you had power 
From all to rape a judgment. Lct*l suffice^ 
Had you been modest, y'adbeen granted wise. 

*Tis known you can do well. 

And that you do cxcell 
As a translator ; but when things require 

A genius, and fif'e, 
Not kindled heretofere by other pains , 

As of^ y*are wanted brains 

' He Lad the palsy at ibal time. 

at ibal ti 



A«d«rt to strike tiMwUte, 

At joo liare lereU'd rif bt : 
Tet if men roach not things apocryphil, 
Tott beUow , rave » and spatter rooad your gall. 

Jag, Pierce , Peek, Fly \ and all 

Tonr jests so noaiinal. 
Are things so far beneath an able brain , 

As they do throw a stain 
Thro' all th'nnlikely plot, and do disease 

As deep as Piuclbs. 

Where yet there is not laid 

Before a chamber-maid 
Discourse so weighM * , as might hai« serVd of eld 
For •choolsy when they of lore and raloar told. 

Why rage, then ? when the show 
Sbonld jadgmeat be, end know-' 
ledge, there aee plush who scorn to dmdge 

For stages, yet can judge 
Not only poets looser lines, but wits , 
And all their perqqisiti ; 
A giA as rich u high 
Is noble poese: 
Tet, tho* in sport it be l»r Khigs to play, 
*ris sMzt mechanicks* wheo k woriu lop pay. 

AlcsBus Inte had none , 
Nor loose Anacreon 
E*or taught so bold asseming of the bays 

When they deserved no praise. 
To rail men into approbation 
Is new to yoar*s ilooe : 
And prospers not : for know , 
Fame is asooy , as yon 
Can be disdainfbl; and who dares to prore 
A rape on her shall gather sooro, — not love. 

Leare then this hnmoor rain , 
And this more bnflu>rons strain. 
Where self-conceit , and choler of the blood , 

Eclipse what else is good : 
Then, if you please those raptures hi^ to touch , 
Wh«reof you boast so mnch : 
And but forbear yoor crown 
Till the world poto it on : 
No doubt, from all you may amasement draw , 
Since brarar theme no Phedms ever saw. 

To console dejected Ben Tor this Just reprimand , Randolph, one 

' The names of seyeral of Jooion*! Dramatis PertonaB. 
* New Inn, Act iii« Scene S«— Act It. Scene 4. 

' litis break was purposely designed by the poet> to expose that singular 
«w in Ben's third stanza. 


of the adopted poetical sons of Jonson, addressed Mm with all that 
wannth of grateM affection which a man of genius shoold hate 
felt on the occasion. 



Ban, do not leave tfas tUge 
Cente 'tb a loatfaiome age ; 
For pride and impudence will grow too bold , 

When they shall hear it told 
Thej frighted thee : Stand high, as is thy cause ; 
Their hiss is thy applanse : 
More just were thy disdain , 
Had they approied thy rein r 
So dion for them» and thtj for thee were bom ; 
They to incense, and them as mnch to scorn. 


Wilt thoa engross thy store 
Of wheat, and ponr no moray 
Because their bacon- brains had soch a taste 

As more delight in mast : 
Ifo! set them forth a board of dainties, fall 
As thy best muse can coll; 
Whibt they the while do pine 
And thirst, midst all their wioo. 
What greater {dagne can bell itself devise , 
Than to be willing thus to tantalize ? 


Thou canst not find them stuff. 
That wUl be bad enough 
To please their pallates : let *em them refuse , 

For some pyo-comer muse; 
She is too fair an hostess , 'twere a sin 
For them to like thine Inn : 
*Twas made to entertain 
Guests of a nobler strain ; 
Tet 9 if they will have any of the store, 
Give them some scraps, and send them from thy dore. 


And let those things in plush 
Till they be taught to blush. 
Like what they will , and more contented be 
With what Broom ' swept from thee. 
« I know thy worth , and that thy lofty strains 
Write not to doaths, but brains : 

' His man , Aichard Broome , wrote with success several comedies. He bad 
been the amanuensis or attendant of Jonson. The epigram made against Pope 
for tiie assistance W. Broome gave him appears to have been borrowed from 
this pun. Johnson has inserted it in <• Broome's Life." 


But tby great splaen 4oth rite , 

'Cause moles will here no eyes : 
TbUonly in my Ben Ifanhy find, 
H«'s angry theyll Boc Me him that are blind. 

Why shoa'd the scene be mate 
Cause thou canst tonch the lute 
And string thy Horace? Let each Mase of nine 

Claim thee, and say, th* art mine. 
*Twere fond > to let all other flames expire , 
To sit by Pindar's fire : 
For by so strange neglect 
I should myself suspect 
Thy palsie » were as well thy brain's disease , 
If they coold shake thy mose which way they please. 


Andtho* thon well canst sing 
The glories of thy King, 
And on ihm wings of verse his chariot bear 

To heaven , and fix it there; 
Tet let thy muse as well some raptures rai:>c 
To please him, as to praise. 
I woidd not have thee chuse 
Only a treble mose; 
But have this envious, ignorant age to know , 
Thon that canst abg so high, canst reach as low. 


It surprises one (o find among the literary Italians the merife of 
Arioslo most keenly diq;)uted : slaves to classical authority , they 
bend down to the majestic regularity of Tasso. Yet the father of 
Tiasso, before his son had rivalled the romantic Arioslo, describes 
in a letter the effect of Ihe '* Oriando " on the people :—'' There 
is no man of learning , no mechanic , no lad , no girl , no old man 
who are satisfied to read the * Orlando Furioso once. This poem 
senres as the solace of the traveller, who fotigued on his journey 
deceives his lassitude by chanting some octaves of this poem. You 
may hear them sing these stanzas in the streets and in the fields 
every day." One would have expected that Ariosto would have been 
the favourite of the people , and Tasso of the critics. But in Venice 
the gondoliers , and others, smg passages which are generally taken 
from Tasso, and rarely from Ariosto. A diCTerent fate , I imagined, 
would have attended the poet who has been distinguished by the 
epithet of ** The Dwine.'' I have been told by an Italian man of 
letters , that this circumstance arose from the relation which Tasso's 

' He had the palsy at that time. 


poem bears (o Turkish affairs ; as mafty of the common people bate 
passed into Turkey, either by chanee or by war. Besid^ the long 
antipathy existing between the Venetians and the Turks gave addi- 
tional force to the patriotic poetry of Tasso. We cannot boast of any 
similar poems. Thus it was that the peoigle of Greece and Ionia 
sang the poems of Homer. 

The Academia delta Crusoa gaye a pufdic preference to Arfosto. 
This irritated certain critics , and none more than Ghapelain , who 
could taste the regularity of Tasso , but not feel the " braye dis- 
order " of Ariosto. He could not approve of those writers, 

** Who snatch a grtoe beyond the reach of artv** 

" I thank you ," he writes , for the sonnet Which your indigna- 
tion dictated , at the Academy's preference of Ariosto to Tasso. This 
judgment is overthrown by the confessions of many of the Cms- 
canii, my associates. It would be tedious to enter into its discus- 
sion -, but it was passion and not equity that prompted that decision. 
We confess , that , as to what concerns invention ahd purity of lan-^ 
guage , Ariosto has eminently the advantage over Tasso ; but ma- 
jesty, pomp, numbers , and a style truly sublime, united to regu- 
larity of design, rai^e the latter so much above the other that na 
comparison can fairly exist." 

The decision of Chapelain is not unjust ; though I did not know 
that Ariosto's language was purer than Tasso's. 

Dr. Ck)cchi , the great Italian critic , compared ^^ Ariosto's poem 
lo the richer kind of hariequin's habit , made up of pteees of the 
very best silk , and of the liveliest colours. The parts of it are, many 
of them, more beautifid than in Tasso*s poem, tmt the wtioie 
in Tasso is without comparison more of a piece and better 
made." The critic was extricating himself as s^My as he coaM 
out of this critical dilemma ^ for the diq[)utes were then so violent , 
that I think one of the disputants took to Im bed, and was said to 
have died of Ariosto and Tasso. 

It is the conceit of an Italian to give the name of Apr3> \ojirio$^ 
to , because it is the season oi flowers ^ and that of September lo 
Tasso , which is that olfndts. Tiraboschi Jutdiciously observes that 
no comparison ought to be made between these freat rivals. It is 
comparing " Ovid's Metamorphoses ' with '^Virgil's j£neid^ " 
they are quite different things. In his charact^v of the twopoeis, 
he distinguishes between a romantic poem and a regular epic. Their 
designs required distinct perfections. But an English reader is not 
enabled by the wretched versions of Hoole to echo the verse of La 
Fontaine, '' Je cheris FArioste el J'estime Le Tasse." 

Boileau , some lime before his death , was asked by a critic If he 

ARiosTO aud tasso. m 

had repented of liis celebrated decision coneerniBg the nerits of 
Tasso, ivhom some Italians had compared with those of Virgil? 
Boileau had hurled his bolts at these yiolators of classical mai}esty. 
It is supposed that he was ignorant of the Italian language , but 
lOBe e^)reflBionain his answer may induce ns to ttiink that he was 

^^ I have so little changed my opinion, that on a reperusal lately 
of Tasso, I was sorry that I had not more amply explmned myself 
00 Ibis sub(iect in some of my reflexions on ^ Longinus.' I should 
hate begun by acknowledging that Tasso had a sublime genius , of 
great compass, with happy dispositions for the higher poetry. But 
what I came to the use he made of his talente , I should have shown 
that judicious discernment rarely prevailed in his works. That in the 
greater portion of his narrations he attached himself to the agree- 
able oftener than to the just. That his descriptions are almost always 
overcharged with supeffluous ornaments. That in painting the 
strongest passions , and in the midst of the agitations they excite , 
frequently he degenerates into witticisms , which abruptly destroy 
the pathetic. That he abounds with images of too florid a kind ^ 
affected turns -, conceits and frivolous thoughts ; which , for from 
fceiog adapted to his Jerusalem , couki hardly be supportable in his 
' Aminta.' So that all this , opposed to the gravity, the sobriety, the 
mi^iesty of Virgil , what is it but tinsel compered with gokl? '' 

The merits of Tasso seem here precisely discnminaied ; apd this 
cnficism must be valuable to the lovers of poetry. The errors of 
Tasso were national. 

In Venice Che gondoliers know by hewi long passages from Ariosto 
and Tasso, and often chant them with a peculiar melody. GoMoni , 
in his life, notices the gondolier returning with him to the city : 
-' He turned the prow of the gondola towards the city, singing all 
the way the twenty-sixth stanza of the sixteenth canto of the Jem-* 
salem delivered.'' The late Mr. Barry once chanted to me a passage 
^Tasso in the manner of the Gondoliers *, an anonymous gentleman 
has greatly obliged me with his account of Che recitation of these 
potts by the gondc^iers of Venice. 

There are always two concerned, who alternately sing the strophes. 
We know the melody eventually by Rousseau , to whose songs it 
is printed*, it has properly no melodious movement, and is a sort 
of medium between the canto fermo and the canto flgurato ; it ap- 
proaches to the former by recitativical declamation , and to the lat- 
Wr by passages and course, by which one syllabbe is detained and 

I entered a gondola by moonlight : one singer placed himself 
tonvards, and the other aH , and thus proceeded to St. Giorgio. 


One began the song : when he had ended his strophe the other took 
up the lay, and so continued the song alternately- Throughout the 
whole of it, the same notes inyariably returned, but according to 
the subject-matter of the strophe, they laid a greater or a smaUer 
stress, sometimes on one, and sometimes on another note, and 
indeed changed the enunciation of the whole strophe , as the object 
of the poem altered. 

On the whole, however, thj^ir sounds were hoarse and screaming : 
they seemed, in the manner of all rude uncivilised men , to make 
the excellency of their singing consist in the force of their voice : 
one seemed desirous of conquering the other by the strength of his 
luQgs , and so far from receiving delight from this scene (shut up 
as I was in the box of the gondola ), I found myself in a very un- 
pleasant situation. 

My companion, to w^om I communicated this circumstance, 
being very desirous to keep up the credit of his countrymen, as- 
sured me that this singing was very delighif\il when heard at a dis- 
tance. Accordingly we got out upon the shore, leaving one of the 
singers in the gondola, while the other went to the distance of some 
hundred paces. They now began to sing against one another ; and 
I kept walking up and down between them both , so as always la 
leave him who was to begin his part I frequently stood still , and 
hearkened to the one and to the other. 

Here the scene was properly introduced. The strong declamatory, 
and , as it were , shrieking sound , met the ear from for, and called 
forth the attention ; the quickly succeeding transitions , which ne- 
cessarily required to be sung in a lower tone seemed like plainfive 
strains succeeding the vociferations of emotion or of pain. The other, 
who listened attentively, immediately began where the former left 
off answering him in milder or more vehement notes ^ according as 
the purport of the strophe required. The sleepy canals , the lofty 
buildings , the splendour of the moon, the deep shadows of the few 
gondolas that moved like spirits hither and thither, increased the 
striking peculiarity of the scene , and amidst all these circum- 
stances it was easy to confess the character of this wonderful har- 

It suits perfectly well with an idle solitary mariner, lying at 
lenght in his vessel at rest on one of these canals, waiting for his 
company or for a fare ^ the tiresomeness of which situation is some- 
what alleviated by the songs and poetical stories he has in me- 
mory. He often raises his voice as loud as he can , which extends 
itself to a vast distance over the tranquil mirror ; and, as all is still 
around , he is as it were in a solitude in the midst of a large and 
populous town. Here is no rattling of carriages, no noise of foot 


pttKogeM ; a ^lent gondola glides now and then by hitn , of which 
thesplashing of thQ oars is scarcely to be heard* 

At a distance he hears another, perhaps utterly unknown to him. 
Melody and verse immediately attach the two strangers ; he be- 
comes the responsive echo4o the former, and exerts himself to be 
beard as he bad heard the other. By a tacit convention they alternate 
verse for verse ^ though the song should last the whole night through, 
Ihey entertain themselves without fatigue ; the hearers , who are 
passing between the two , take part in the amusement. 

This vocal performance sounds best at a great distance , and is 
then inexpressibly charming, as it only fulfils its design in the senti- 
ment of remoteness. It is plaintive , but not dismal in its sound -, and 
at times it is scarcdy possible to refrain flrom tears. My companion, 
who otherwise was not a very delicately organised person , said quite 
unexpectedly, '*' £ singolare come quel canto intenerisce , e m<4to 
piik quando la cantano meglio." 

I was told that the women of Lido, the long row of islands that 
divides the Adriatic from the Lagoons , particularly the women of 
the extreme districts of Malamocca and Palestrina , sing in like 
manner the works of Tasso to these and similar tunes. 

They have the custom , when their husbands are fishing out at 
sea, to sit along the shore in the evenings and vociferate these songs, 
and continue to do so with great violence , till each of them can 
distinguish the responses of her own husband at a distance. 

How much more delightful and more appropriate does this song 
show itself here , than the call of a solitary person uttered far and 
wide , till another equally disposed shall hear and answer him ! It is 
the expression of a vehement and hearty longing, which yet is every 
moment nearer to the happiness of satisfaction. 

Lord Byron has told us that with the independence of Venice the 
song of the gondolier has died away — 

** In Venice Tasso't echoes are no more.*' 

If this be not more poetical than true, it must have occurred at 
a moment when their last political change may have occasioned this 
silence on the waters. My servant Tita, who was formerly the 
servant of his lordship^ and whose name has been immortalised in 
the "Italy" of Mr. Rogers, was himself a gondolier. He assures me 
that every night on the river the chant may be heard. Many who 
cannot even read have acquired the whole of Tasso, and some 
chant the stanzas of Ariosto. It is a sort of poetical challenge^ and 
he who cannot take up the subject by continuing it is held as 
vanquished , and which occasions him no slight vexation. In the 
note of Lord Byron's works, this article is quoted by mistake as 


written by me ^ though I had mentioiied it as the contrftotlOD of a 
stranger. We find , in this note of Lord Byron's works , that there 
are two kinds of Tasso ; the original , and another called the ^^ Canta 
alia Barcariola, '' a spurious Tasso in the Venetian dialect : ttus 
latter, howeter, is rarely used. In the same note , a printer's error 
has f>een perpetuated through all the editions -, the name of Beury y 
the painter, has been printed Berry. 


Few philosophers were more deserting of the title than Bayle. 
His last hour exhibits the Socraiic intrepidity with whldi he en- 
countered the formidable approach of death. I have seen the original 
letter of the bookseller Leers, where he describes the death of our 
philosopher. ^^On the evening preceding his decease, \smo% 
studied all day, he gave my corrector some copy of his ' Answer to 
Jacquelot,' and told him that he was very ill. At nine in the morn- 
ing his laundress entered his chamber; he asked her, with a dying 
voice , if his fire was kindled? and a few moments aAer he died." 
His disease was an hereditary consumption, and his decline vdsoA 
have been gradual \ speaking had become with him a great pain , but 
he laboured with the same tranquiUity of nund to his last hour; 
and , with Bayle , it was death alone which could interrupt tbe 

The irritability of genius is forcibly characterised by this cut^um- 
stance in his literary life. When a close friendship had united him 
to Jurieu, he lavished on him the most flattering eulogiums : he is 
the hero of his ^^ Republic of Letters.'' Enmity succeeded to friend- 
ship -, Jurieu is then continually quoted in his '^ Critical Dictionary,'' 
whenever an occasion offers to give instances of gross Uimders, 
palpable contradictions, and inclusive arguments. These inconsistent 
opinions may be sanctioned by the similar conduct of a Saint! St 
Jerome praised Ruflnus as the most learned man of his age, while 
his friend ; but when the same Ruflnus joined his adversary OrigBn* 
he called him one of the most ignorant! 

As a logician Bayle had no superior ; the hesX logician will , how- 
ever, frequently deceive himself. Bayle made long and close argu- 
ments to show that La Motte le Yayer never could have beeat 
preceptor to the king ; but all his reasonings are overturned by vk 
fact being given in the " History of the Academy," by P61isson. 

Basnage said of Bayle , that he read much by his fingers- He 
meant that he ran over a book more than he read it*, and that be 
bad the art of always falling upon that which was most essential and 
curious in the book he examined. 

BAYLE. 33 1 

TIktb are betty hours in which ^e mind of a man of letters i» 
unkiiiged*, when the intellectual faculties lose all their elasticity, 
and when nothing but the simplest actions are adapted to their en- 
feebled slate. At such hours it is recorded of the Jewish Socrates , 
Moies Menddsohn , that he would stand at his window, and count 
the tiles of his neighbour's house. An anonymous writer has told of 
Bayle, ttiat he would Arequentty wrap himself in his cloak, and 
hasten to places where mountebanks resorted *, and that this was one 
offals chief amusements. He is surprised that so great a philosopher 
should delight in so trifling an object. This objection is not injuri- 
008 to the character of Bayle ^ it only proves that the writer himself 
was no philosopher. 

The ^^ Monthly Reyiewer,'' in noticing this article , has continued 
the speculation by giving two interesting anecdotes. '^ The obsenra* 
tion concerning ^ heavy hours,' and the want of elasticity in the 
inleUectual fiiculties of men of letters, when the mind is Migued 
and Um attention blunted by incessant labour, reminds us of what 
is related by persons who were acquainted with the late sagacious 
nagistrate Skr John Fielding-, who, when fotigued with attending 
lo complicated cases ^ and perplexed with discordant dq)ositions , 
used to retire to a Utile closet in a remote add tranquil part of the 
house, to rest his mental powers and sharpen perception. He UM 
a great physician, now living, who complained of the distance of 
places , as caused by the great extension of London , that ^ he ( the 
physician) would not have been able to visit many patients fc> any 
purpose, if they had resided nearer to each other ; as he could have 
had DO time either to think or to rest his mind.' " 

Our excellent logician was little accustomed to a mixed loeiely; 
his life was passed in study. He had such an inlhntine sim|[^oity in 
his nature, that he would spesA on anatomical sui^eclg before the 
ladies witti as much freedom as before surgeons. When they inclined 
Jheir eyes to the ground , and while some even blushed , he would 
ftien inquire if what he spoke was indecent ^ and , when told so , he 
smiled and stopped. His habits of life were, however, extremely 
pare ^ he probably left himself little leisure '^to/all intotemptation.'* 

Bayle knew nothing of geometry, and, as Le Clerc informs us^ 
acknowledged that he could never comprehend the demonstration 
ofttie first problem in Euclid. Le Qerc, however, was a rival to 
Bayle 5 with greater industry and more accurate learning, but with 
>ery inferior powers of reasoning and philosophy. Both of these 
great scholars, like our Locke, were destitute of fine taste and 
poetical discernment. 

When Fagon , an eminent physician , was consulted on the illness 
of our student , he only prescribed a particular regimen, without 


t-A-^ wu-^ . 4i<^^\^ i^^ 

n I 

33!( BAYLE* 

the use of medicine. He closed his congultation by a comptiMnC 
remarkable for its felicity. '^ I ardently wish one could s|)are this 
great man all this constraint, and that it were possible to And a 
remedy as singular as the merit of him for whom it is asked/' 

Voltaire has said that Bayle confessed he would not have made 
his Dictionary exceed a folio volume , had he written only for 
himself, and not for the booksellers. This Dictionary, with all its 
human faults , is a stupendous work, which must last with literature 
itself. In my fourth volume I have taken an enlarged view otBkYii 
and his Dictionary. " ^ 

t CERVANTES. - > -; 

M. Du BoULAY accompanied the French ambassador to Spain, 
when Cervantes was yet living. *'*' He told me /' Segrais informs us, 
^* that the ambassador one day complimented Cervantes on the great 
reputation he had acquired by his Don Quixote ; and that Cervantes 
whispered in his ear, ^ Had it not been for the Inquisition , I shouM 
have made my book much more entertaining."* 

Cervantes, at the battle of Lepanto , was w ounded and end aved. . 
He has given his own history in Don Quixote. He was knovm at the 
"court of Spain, but he did not receive those favours which might 
* have been expected *, he was neglected. His first volume is the finest f 
and his design was to have finished there ^ but he could not resisi 
the importunities of his fdends , who engaged him to make a second, 
which has not the same force, although it has many splendid 

We have lost many good things of Cervantes, and other writers, 
through the tribunal of religion and dulness. One Aonius Palearius 
wassensiMe of this ; and said, '*' that the Inquisition was a poniard 
aimed at the throat of literature." The image is striking, and the 
pbaervation just; but the ingenious observer was in consequence 
soon led to the stake ! 


Anthony Magliabecchi , who died at the age of eighty , was 
celebrated for his great knowledge of books. He has been called 
the Helluo , or the Glutton of Literature , as Peter Comestor receiv- 
ed his nick-name from his amazing voracity for food he could never 
digest; which appeared when having fallen sick of so much (Use 
learning, he threw it all up in his " 5ea of' Histories ,'' which prov- 
ed to be the history of all things , and a bad history of every thing. 
Magliabecchi's character is singular ^ for though his life was wholly 
passed in libraiics , being librarian to the Duke of Tuscany, be never 


\prite hin^f. There is a medal which represenis him sitting, with, 
a book in one hand , and with a great number of bool^s scattered on 
the ground. The candid inscription signifies, that '' it is not sufficient 
to become learned to have readmuch, if we read without reflection.'' 
This is the only remains we have of his own composition that can 
be of service to posterity. A simple truth , which may however be 
inscribed in the study of every man of letters. 

His habits of life were uniform. Ever among his books, he 
troubled himself with no other concern whatever; and the only 
interest he appeared to take for any living thing was his spiders. 
While sitting among his literary piles, he affected great sympathy 
for these weavers of webs , and perhaps in contempt of those whose 
curiosity appeared impertinent, he frequently cried out, ^^to take 
care not to hurt Ms spiders!'' Although he lost no time in writing 
himself, he gave considerable assistance to authors who consulted 
him. He was himself an universal index to all authors ; the late 
literary antiquary Isaac Reed resembled him. He had one book, 
among many others , dedicated to him , and this dedication consisted 
of a collection of titles of works which he had at different times ' 
dedicated to him , with aU the eulogiums addressed* to him in prose 
and terse. When he died , he left his vast collection of books for the 
public use; they now compose the public librai^y of Florence. 

Heyman , a celebrated Butch professor, visited this erudite libra- 
rian, who was considered as the ornament of Rorence. He found 
him amongst his books, of which the number ws^ prodigious. Two 
or three rooms in the first story were crowded with them , not only 
along their sides', but pUed in heaps on the floor; so that it was 
difiAcult to sit , and more so to walk. A narrow space was contrived , 
indeed , so that by walking sideways you might extricate yourself 
from one room to another. This was not all ; the passage below 
stairs was ftiU of books , and the staircase flrom the U^ to the bottom 
was lined with them. When you reached the second story, you saw 
with astonishment three rooms , similar to those below, equally so 
crowded, that twd good beds in these chambers were also crammed 
with books. 

This apparent confiision did'not, however, hinder Magliabecchi 
lh)m inunediately finding the books he wanted. He knew them aU 
so well, that even to the least of them it was sufficient to see its 
ontside , to say what it was ; he knew his flock , as shepherds are 
said , by their faces ; and indeed he read them day and night , and 
never lost sight of any. He ate on his books , he slept on his books, 
and quitted them as rarely as possible. During his whole life he 
only went twice from Horence ; once to see Fiesoli , which is not 
above two leagues distant , and once ten miles further by order of 


the Gr^uid Duke. Nothing could be moro sbnple ttiao lits mode of 
life *, a few eggs , a little bread , and some water, were bis ordinary 
food. A drawer of his desk being open, Mr. Heyman saw tbere 
several eggs , and some money which Magliabechi had plaeed ttiere 
for his daily use. But as this drawer was generally open , it fire- 
qneatly hai^ened that the senrants of bis Mends , or strangers who 
came to see him , pilfered same of these things ; the money or 
the eggs. 

His dress was as cynical as his repasts. A black doubtel, whiidi 
descended to his knees; large and long breeches ; an old patched 
Mack cloak ; an amorphous hat, very much worn , and the edges 
ragged ; a large neckcloth of course cloth , begrimed with snuff ^ a 
dirty shirt, which he always wore as long as it lasted, and which 
the broken elbows of his doublet did not conceal ; and , to finish this 
inventory, a pair of ruffles which did not belong to the shirt Sach 
was the brilliant dress of our learned Florentine ; and in such M 
he appear in the public streets , as well as in his own house. Let 
me not forget another circumstance ; to warm his hands, he gene- 
raUy had a stove with fire festened to his arms, so that his dolhes 
were generally singed and burnt, and his hands scorched. He had 
nothing otherwise remarkable about him. To literary men be was 
extremely afibble, and a cynic only to the eye^ anecdotes almost 
incredible are related of his memory. It is somewhat uncommon 
ttial as he was so fond of literary ybo^j^ he did not occasionally 
dress some dishes of his own invention , or at least some sandwiches 
to his own relish. He indeed should have written GuRiosmBS of 
LiTBRATURB. He vfas a living Gydopffidia , though a dark lanlem. 

Of such reading men , Uobbes entertained a very contemptihle , 
if not a rash opinion. His own reading was inconsiderable , and he 
used to say, that if he had spent as much time in reading as other 
men of learning , he should have been as ignorant as they. He 
put little value on a large library, for he considered all books lo 
be merely extracts and copies, for that most authors were Uk% 
sheep , never deviating from the beaten path. History he treated 
lightly, and thought there were more lies than truths in it. But let us 
recolleet after aU this , that Hobbes was a mere metai^ysician , 
idolising his own vain and empty hypotheses. It is true enough 
that weak heads carrying in them too much reading may be 
staggered. Le Qerc observes of two learned men , De Marcily and 
fiarthhis, that they would have composed more useftil works 
had they read less numerous authors , and digested the better 

ABR1DGER8. 335 


Abridgers are a kind of literary men to whom the indolence 
of modern readers, and indeed the multiplicity of authors, give 

It would be difflcuR , observe the learned Benedictines , the au- 
thors of the Literary History of France , to relate all the unhappy 
consequences which ignorance introduced, and the causes which 
produced that ignorance. But we must not forget to place in this 
number the mode of reducing, by way of abridgment, what the 
ancients had written in bulky volumes. Examples of this practice 
may be observed in preceding centuries , but in the fifth century it 
began to be in general use. As the number of students and readers 
diminished, authors neglected literature, and were disgusted with 
composition ; for to write is seldom done , but when the writer 
entertains the hope of finding readers. Instead of original authors, 
there suddenly arose numbers of Abridgers. These men , amidst 
the prevailing disgust for literature , imagined they should gratify 
the public by introducing a mode of reading works in a few hours, 
which otherwise could not be done in many months ; and, observing 
that the bulky volumes of the ancients lay buried in dust, without 
any one condescending to examine them , necessity inspired them 
with an invention that might bring those works and themselves into 
public notice , by the care they took of renovating them. This they 
imaginedtoeffectby forming abridgments of these ponderous tomes. 

All these Abridgers , however, did not follow the same mode. 
Some contented themselves with making a mere abridgment of 
their authors , by employing their own expressions, or by inconsi- 
deraUe alterations. Others formed abridgments in drawing them 
from various authors , biit from whose works they only took what 
appeared to them most worthy of observation, and embellished 
them in thier own style. Others again , having before them several 
authors who wrote on the same subject , took passages from each , 
united them , and thus combined a new work \ they executed their 
design by digesting in common-places , and under various titles , 
the most valuable parts they could collect, from the best authors 
they read. To these last ingenious scholars we owe the rescue of 
many valuable fragments of antiquity. They fortunately preserved 
the best maxims , characters , descriptions , and curious matters 
which they had found interesting in their studies. 

Some learned men have censured these Abridgers as the cause 
of our having lost so many excellent entire worlLs of the ancients ^ 
for posterity becoming less studious was satisfied with these extracts, 


and neglected to preserve (he originals , whose volaminous size was 
less attractive. Others , on the contrary, say that these Abridgers 
have not been so prejudicial to literature ; and that had it not 
been for their care , which snatched many a perishable fragment 
from that shipwreck of letters which the barbarians occasioned , we 
should perhaps have had no works of the ancients remaining. 
Many voluminous works have been greatly improved by their 
Abridgers. The vast history of Trogus Pompeius was soon forgotten 
and finally perished , after the excellent epitome of it by Justin , 
who winnowed the abundant chaff from the grain. 

Bayle gives very excellent advice to an Abridger when he shows 
thatXiphilin , in his '' Abridgment of Dion /' takes no notice of a 
circumstance very material for entering into the character of Domi- 
tian : — the recalling the empress Domitia after having turned her 
away for her intrigues with a player, fiy omitting this fact in the 
abridgment, and which is discovered through Suetonius , Xiphilin 
has evinced , he says , a deficient judgment ; for Domitian^s ill 
quaTities are much better exposed , when it is known that he was 
mean-spirited enough to restore to the dignity of empress the 
prostitute of a player. 

Abridgers , Compilers , and Translators , are now slightly re- 
garded ; yet to form their works with skill requires an exertion of 
judgment, and frequently of taste, of which their contemners 
appear to have no due conception. Such literary labours it is 
thought the learned will not be found to want; and the unlearned 
cannot discern their value. But to such Abridgers as Monsieur Lc 
Grand , in his ^^Tales of the Minstrels , '' and Mr. Ellis , in his 
" English Metrical Romances," we owe much ; and such writers 
must bring to their (ask a congeniality of genius , and even more 
taste than their originals possessed. I must compare such to fine 
etchers after great masters : — very few give the feeling touches in 
the right place. 

It is an uncommon circumstance to quote the Scriptures on 
subjects of modem literature; but on the present topic the elegant 
writer of the books of the Maccabees has delivered, in a kind of 
preface t6 that history, very pleasing and usefhl instructions to an 
Abridger. I shall transcribe the passages, being concise, from Book 
ii. Chap. ii. v. 23 , that the reader may have it at hand. — 

" All these things , I say, being declared by Jason of Cyrene , in 
Ji^e boohs, we will assay to abridge in one volume. We will be 
careful that they that will read may have delight, and that they 
that are desirous to commit to memory might have ease, and that 
aU into whose hands it comes might have profit,''' How concise and 
Horalian ! He then describes his literary labours with no insensi- 


bitty :— '' To ub that hate takoi upon in tlus paieftil labour of 
abridging, it was not easy, but a matter of sweat and watching.'' 
—And ttie writer employs an elegant illustration : ^^ Eyen as it is no 
ease ODto him that prepareth a banquet , and seeketh the benefit of 
olbers; yet for the pleasuring of many, we will undertake gladly 
tbis gratt pain; leaving to the author the exact handling of every 
particular, and labouring to follow the rules of an Abridgment.'' 
He now embdlishes his critical account with a sublime metaphor 
to distinguish the original fh»n the copier :-<-^^ For as the master 
boilderof a new house must care for the whole building ; but he 
M imdertaketh lo set it out , and point it , must seek out fit things 
for the adorning thereof; even so I think it is with us. To stand 
^^i^e^ferypoint^diiA go oifer things at Zor^e^andto h^curious 
in particulars , belongeth to the first author of ihe story ; but to 
use brevify^, and avoid much kwouring of the work , is to be 
granted to him that will make an Abridgment. ", 

Quintilian has not a passage more etegantly composed , nor more 
Jodlcioasly conceiTed. '^ - 


Among the most singular characters in literature may be ranked 
tb06e who do not blush to profess publicly its most dishonourable 
pnietices. The first vender of printed sermofis imitating manuscript, 
was, I think , Dr. Truster. He to whon^the following anecdotes 
relale had superior ingenuity. Like the famous orator Henley, he 
formed a school of his own. The present lecturer c^nly taught not 
tomucote the best authors , but to steal from them ! 

Richesonrce , a miserable declaimer, called himself ^^ Moderator 
of the Academy of Philosophical Orators." He taught how a person 
<iestitate of literary talents might become eminent for literature -, 
ind published the principles of his art under the titte of'' The Mask 
of Orators \ or the manner of disguising all kinds of composition ^ 
briefe, sermons, panegyrics , Mineral orations, dedications, speeches, 
tetters , passages ' ete. I wiU give a notion of the work.— 

The author very truly observes , that all who apply themselv^ to 
potite literature do not always find fh)m their own fiinds a sufiicient 
supi^y to ensure success. For such he labours ; and teaches to ga- 
ther, in the gardens of others , those fruits of which their own ste- 
rile grounds are destitute \ but so artfully to gather, that the public 
<^ not pmieive thehr depredations. He dignifies this fine art by 
*e title of Plagiahisbi , and thus explains it :— 

'' The Plagianism of orators is the art , or an ingenious and easyj 
inode , which some adroitly employ, to change , or disguise , all 


sorts of speeches of their own composiUon , or of that of other Mh 
thors, for their pleasure, or their utility ; in such a manner that it be- 
comes impossible even for the author himself to recognise his own 
work , his own genius, and his own style , so skilfully shall the whole 
be disguised/' 

Our professor proceeds to reveal the manner of managing &e 
whole economy of the piece which is to be copied or disgiused; 
and which consists in giving a new order to the parts , changing 
the phrases , the words , etc. An orator, for instance , having said 
that a plenipotentiary should possess three qualities, — probity, ca- 
pacity, and courage; the plagiarist, on the contrary, may employ 
courage , capacity , and probity. This is only for a general rule, 
for it is too simple to practice frequently. To render the partperiiecl 
we must make it more complex, by changing the whole of the 
expressions. The plagiarist in place of courage will pai force, 
constancy, or ^vigour. For probity he may say religion , virtue y 
or sincerity. Instead of capacity, he may substitute erudition , 
ability, or science. Or he may disguise the whole by saying, thai 
the plenipotentiary should be firm , virtuous , and able. 

The rest of this uncommon work is composed of passages extract- 
ed from celebrated writers , which are turned into the new manner 
of the plagiarist ; their beauties , however, are never improved b; 
their dress. Several celebrated writers when young , particularly the 
famous Flechier, who addressed verses to him , frequented the lec- 
tures of this professor ! , 

Richesource became so zealous in this course of literature , (hat 
he published a volume , entitled : ^^ The Art of Writing and Spcali- 
ing ; or a Method of composing all sorts of Letters , and holding a 
polite Conversation."' He concludes his preface by advertising his 
readers , that authors who may be in want of essays , sermons ^ let- 
ters of all kinds , written pleadings and verses , may be accommo- 
dated on application to him. 

Our professor was extremely fond of copious title-pages , which 1 
suppose to be very attractive to certain readers; for it is a custom 
which the Richesources of the day fail not to employ. Are there per- 
sons who value boohs by the length of their titles , as formerly the 
ablity of a physician was Judged by the size of his wig? 

To this article may be added an account of another singular 
school , were the professor taught obscurity in literary compo- 
sition ! 

I do not believe that those who are unintelligible are very inlelli' 
gent. Quintilian has justly observed , that the obscurity of a writer 
is generally in proportion to his incapacity. However, as there is 
•hardly a defect which does not find partisans , the same author in- 


faniis US oCa Rhetorieian, who was so great an admirer of obscurity^ 
that be always exhorted his scholars to preserve it ; and made them 
correct , as blemishes , those passages of their works which appeared 
to him fbo iDtelligible. QuintUian adds, that the greatest panegyric 
they could give to a composition in that school was to declare . '^ I 
oDderstaiid nothhag of this piece.'' Lycq[)hron possessed this taste , 
and he protested that he would hang himself if he found a person 
who should understand his poem , called the ^^ Prophecy of Cassan- 
dra/' He succeeded so well , that this piece has been the stumUing- 
block of all the grammarians , scholiasts , and commentators ; and 
remaiDS inexplicable to the present day. Such works Charpentler 
admirably compares to those subterraneous places, where the air is 
so thick and suffocating that it extinguishes all torches. A most so- 
phistical dilemma , on the subject of obscurity y was made by Tho- 
mas Anglus , or While ^ an English Catholic priest, the fHend of Sir 
Keoelni IMgby. This learned man frequently wandered in the mazes 
of metaphysical subtilties ; and became perfectly unintelligible to 
\A& readers. When accused of this obscurity, he replied , '^ Either 
the learned understand me , or they do not. If they understand me, 
and find me in an error, it is easy for them to refute me ^ if they do 
not understand me , it is very unreasonable for them to exclaim 
against my doctrines.'' 

This is saying all that the wit of man can suggest in favour of 
obscurity ! Many, however, will agree with an observation made by 
Gravina on the over-reflnement of modem composition , that '^ we 
do not think we have attained genius , till others must possess as 
much themselves to understand us.'^ Fontenelle, in France, fol- 
lowed by Marivaux , Thomas , and others, Orst introduced that sub- 
tilised manner of writing, which tastes more natural and simple 
r^ect^ one source of such bitter complahits of obscurity. 


Pi^B BouHOURS seriously asks if a Gorman can be a bel esprit ? 
This concise query was answered by Kramer, in a ponderous volume 
which bears for title , Vindicias nondnis Germanici, This mode 
of refutation does not prove that the question was then so ridiculous 
as it was considered. The Germans of the present day, although 
greatly superior to their ancestors , there are who opine that Ihey 
are still distant from that acme of taste , which characterises the 
finished compositions of the French and the English authors. Na- 
tiofis di^ay genius before they form taste. 

It was the mode with English and French writers to dishonour 
the Germans with the epithets of heavy, dull , and phlegmatic com- 


pilars , without laste , spirit , or genius ; genuine descendants ofttie 
ancient BceoUans. 

Crifsoque sub acre nati. 

Many fenciM and many philosophical perfomnanoes hate laielf 
shown that this censure has now become utmost ; and much more 
forcibly answer the sarcastic question of Bouliours than the thicit 
quarto of Kramer. 
Churchill fin^y says of genius that it te independent of situatioo . 

* And may bereaftcr even in HoLiAir d rise/ 

Yondel , wh(Mn , as Marchand observes, the Dutch regard as their 
.£schylus , Sophocles , and Euripides , had a strange defective taste ; 
the poet himself knew none of these originals , but he wrote on 
some patriotic suf^ect, the sure way to obtain popularity : the great- 
er part of his tragedies is drawn firom the Scriptures , all badly 
chosen and unhappily executed. In his DeU\ferance of the Chi- 
dren of Israel, one of his principal chiiracters is the Divinity! In 
his Jerusalem Destroyed we are disgusted with a tedious oration 
by tlie angel Gabriel , who proves theologically, and his proo6 ex- 
tend through nine closely pruited pages in quarto, that this destruc- 
tion had been predicted by the prophets : and in the Lucifer of tbe 
same author, the subject is grossly scandalised by this haughty spirit 
becoming stupidly in love with Eve, and it is for her he causes Ibe 
rebellion of the evil angels , and the fatt of our first parents. Poor 
Yondel kept a hosier's shop , which he left to the care of his wife . 
while he indulged his poetical genius. His stocking^shop failed, and 
his poems produced him more chagrin than glory \ for in Holland . 
even a patriotic poet, if a bankrupt , would , no doubt, be ac- 
counted by his fellow-citiietts as a madman. Yondel had no oflier 
master but his genius, which, with his uncongenial situation, oc- 
casioned all his errors. 

Another Dutch poet is even less tolerable. Having written a long 
rtiapsody concerning Pyramus and Thisbe, he concludes it by a 
ridiculous parallel between the deatti of these unfortunate victims 
of love , and the passion of Jesus Christ. He says : — 

Cm fconcluderem ran onsen begrypt , 
Dees Historie rooraliserende , 
Is in den verstande wel acoorderende , 
Bj ibr Paifio ran Christm gebenedyt. 

And upon this , after having turned Pyramus into the Son of God , 
and Thisbe into the Oiristtan soul, he proceeds with a number of 
comparisons ; the latter always more impertinent than the fonaer. 


Ibeyefeitis welltoown ibal ttie aclors ob the Duteh theatre are 
generally tradesmen , who quit ttieir aprons at the hour of public 
representataon. This was the tact when I was in HoHand more than 
forty years age. Their eaoiadieB are offaasiYe by the grossness of 
(heir buffooneries. One of their eonio incidento was a miHer ap- 
pearing in distress for want of wind to turn his null ; he had recourse 
to the novel scheme of placing his back against it, aqd by certain 
iffiitative sounds be^nd the soeiies , the mill is soon set a-going. 
It is hard to rival such a depravity of taste. 

I saw two of their most celebrated tragedies. The one v^as Gys* 
bert Van Amstel , by Vondel ^ that is Gysbrecht of Amsterdam , a 
warrior, who in the civil wars preserved this city by his heroism. 
It is a patriotic historical play, and never finis to crowd the theab^ 
towards Christmas , when it is uSuaUy perfiormed successively. One 
of the acts concludes with the scene of a convent ; the sound of 
warlike instrunaenls is heard; tbeabbQy is stormed; the nuns and 
lathers are slaughtered; with the aod of ^blunderbuss and thunder,' 
every Dutchman i^ppears sensible of the pathos of the poet, fiut it 
does not here conclude. Afler this terrible slaughter, the conquerors 
aod the vanquished remain for ten minutes on the stage , sitent and 
motionless, in the attitudes in which the groups happened to fell ! 
aod this pantomimic pathos comoonds loud bursts of api^use. 

The other was the Ahasuerus of Schubert , or the Fall of Uaman. 
In the triumphal entry the Batavian Mordecai was mounted on a 
geauine Flanders mare, that, fortunately, quietly receivied her 
applause with a lumpish majesty resembling her rider. I have seen 
aa £nglish ass once intnxhieed on oar stage which did not act 
with this decorum* Our late actors have frequently been beasts ;*--a 
Butch taste! 

Some few specimens of the best Dutoh poetry which we have had, 
yield no evidence in favour of ttie national poetical taste. TheDuteh 
poet Katz has a poem on the ^^ Games of Children ,'' where all the 
gamesare moralised; I suspect Ihe taste of the poei as weH as his 
siit>ieel IS puerile. When a natten has produced no works above 
mediocrky, with ttem a certain niedioenty is eiiceltence , and their 
nasler-pieees , with a peopte v4io have made a greater progress in 
i^efinement, can never beacc^>ted as the works of a master. 


When CrebiUon, the French tragic poet, pubHshed his Cati- 
Mna, it was atiewjted witb an hono«r te literature, which though 
it is probaUy forgotten, fbr it was only registered, i Mnk , as 


the news of the day, it becomes one zealous in the cause of literature 
to preserve. I give the circumstance , the petition , and the diHsree. 

At the time Catilina was given to the public , the creditors of 4hc 
poet had the crueRy to attach ^be produce of this piece, as well 
at the bookseller's , who had printed the tragedy, as at the theatre 
where it was performed. The poet , irritated at these proceedings, 
addressed a petition to the king , in which he showed '^that it was 
a thing yet unknown, that it should be allowed to class amongst 
seizable effects the productions of the human mind -, that if such a 
practice was permitted, those who had consecrated their vigib to ttie 
studies of literature , and who had made the greatest efforts to render 
themselves , by this means, usefhl to their country, would see them- 
selves placed in the cruel pvedicaroent of not venturing to publish 
works , often precious and interesting to the state -, that the greater 
part of those who devote themselves to literature require for the flrst 
wants of life those aids which they have a right to expect from their 
labours ; and that it never has been suffered in France to seize the 
fees of lawyers, and other persons of liberal professions.'' 

In answer to this petition , a decree immediately issued from the 
King's council , commanding a replevy of the arrests and seizures 
of which the petitioner complained. This honourable decree was 
dated 21st May, 1749, and bore the following title : '< Decree of 
the Council of his Majesty, in favour of M. Grefoillon , author of 
the tragedy of Catilina , which declares that the productions of the 
mind are not amongst seizable effects." 

Louis XV. exhibits the noble example of bestowing a mark of 
con^deration to the remains of a man of letters. This King not only 
testified his esteem of Crebillon by having his works printed at the 
Louvre , but also by consecrating to his glory a tomb of marble. 


Writers who have been unsuccessful in original composition 
have their other productions immedialely decried , whatever merit 
they might once have been allowed to possess. Yet this is very un- 
just; an author who has given a wrong direction to his literary 
powers may perceive at length where he can more securely point 
them. Experience is as excellent a mistress in the school of litera- 
ture as in the school of t^pmpn life. Blackmore's epics are insuffer- 
able ; yet neither Addison nor Johnson erred when they considered 
his philosophical poem as a valuable composition. An indifferent 
poet may exert the art of criticism in a very high degree ; and if 
he cannot himself produce an original work , he may yet be of great 
service in regulating the happier genius of another. This obscrva- 

, 1 , 


\ifml shall illu^trale by the characters of two French critics ; the 
one is the AhM d'Aubignac , and the other Glu4)elain. 

BoUeau opens his Art of Poetry by a precept which though it be 
coounoD is always important-, this critical poet declares, that ^^ It 
is ia vain a daring author thinks of attaining to the height of Par- 
nassus if he does not feel the secret influence of heayen, and if his 
natal star has not formed him to be a poet/' This observation he 
fOQDded on the character of our Abb^ ; who had excdlently written 
OD the economy of dramatic composition. His Pratique du Thddtre 
gained him an extensive reputation. When he produced a 'tragedy, 
tbe world expected a finished piece ^ it was acted , and reprobated. 
The author, however, did not acutely feel its bad reception \ he 
erery where boasted that he , of all the dramatists , had most scru- 
pukmsly observed the rules of Aristotle. The Prince de Guemen6, 
iamoDs for his repartees , sarcastically observed , ^' I do not quarrel 
with the Abb^ d'Aubignac for having so closely followed the pre- 
cepts of Aristotle -, but I cannot pardon the precepts of Aristotle, 
tliat occasioned the Abb6 d'Aubignac to write so wretched a tra- 

The Pratique du Thidtre is not , however, to be despised , 
beeaose the Tragedy of its author is despicable. 

Ghapelain's unfortunate epic has rendered him notorious. He 
had gained , and not undeservedly, great reputation for his critical 
powers. After a retention of above thirty years, his Pucelle appear- 
^* He immediately became the butt of every unfledged wit, and 
his former works were eternally condemned -, insomuch that When 
Camusat published , after the death of our author, a litHe volume 
of extracts from his manuscript letters , it is curious to observe the 
awkward situation in which he finds himself. In his preface he seems 
afnud that the very name of Chapelain will be sufficient to repel 
the reader. 

Camusat observes of Chapelain, (hat '^he found flatterers who 
assured him his Pucelle ranked above the jEneid; and this Chape- 
lain but feebly denied. However this may be, it would be difficult 
to make the bad taste which reigns throughout this poem agree with 
that sound and lltact criticism with which he decided on the works 
of others. So true is il, that genius is very superior to a justness of 
mind which is sufficient to judge and to advise others." Chape- 
lain was ordered to draw up a critical list of the chief Uving authors 
and men of letters in France , for the king. It is extremely impartial, 
^ perfonned with an analytical skill of their literary characters 
vtai(^ eottkl not have been surpassed by an Aristotle or a Boileau. 

The talent of judging may exist separately from the power qJ 
^^eciftibit. An amateur may not be an artist, though an artist 

844 GfUTICS. 

shouM be an amaieur ; and it b for this reason tbat yoaiig auOion 
are not to contemn the precepts of such critics as eyen the AbM 
d'Aubignac and Chapelain. It is to Walsh , a miserdile i«rsiiler, 
that Pope stands indebted for the hint of our poetry then being de- 
ficient in correctness and polish ; and it is flrom this fortunate Idiil 
that Pope derived iiis poetical exodlence. Dionysius HdieamasaensiB 
has composed a lifeless history^ yet, as Gibbon obsenres, how ad- 
mirably has he judged the masters , and defined the rules of hMo- 
rieal composition ! Grarioa , with great taste and spirit , has writteD 
on poetiV and poets , but he composed tragedies which gite hhn 
no tifle be ritnked among ttiem. 


It is an ingenious observation made by a journalist of Tlrevou, 
on perusing a criticism not ill-written , which pretended to detect 
several faults in the compositions of Bruy^re , that in ancient Rome 
the great men who triumphed amidst the apphiuses of those wtio 
celebrated their virUies , were at the same time compelled to lidlen 
to those who reproached them with their vices. This custom la not 
less necessary to the republic of leUers ttisoi it was formeriy la the 
repubUc of Rome. Without this it is probable that authors wouM 
be intoxicated with success , and would then relax in their accus- 
tomed vigour; and the multitude who took them for models would , 
for want of Judgment , imitate their defects. 

Sterne and ChurchiU were continually abusing the Reviewers , 
because they honestly told the one that obscenity was not wit , and 
obscurity was not sense ; and the otfanr that dissonance in poetiy 
did not excel harmony, and that his rhymes were firequently prose 
lines of ten syllables cut into verse. They applauded their happier 
efforts. Notwithstanding all this, it is certain that so little discena- 
ment exists, among common writers and common readers , thai the 
obscenity and flippancy of Sterne, and the bald verse aid prosaic 
poetry of Churchill , were precisely the portion whfch they selected 
for imitation. The blemishes of great men are not the less blemishes, 
but they are , unfortunately, the easiest parte for imHAion. 

Yet criticism may be too rigorous , and gedtus too sensible lo Ms 
flBdrest attacks. Racine acknowledged that one of ihe severe criticisms 
he received had occasioned him more vexAtion tiian the greatest 
api^auses had afforded him pleasure. Sir Mm Maraham , havlBg 
(mblished the first part of his '^ Chronology," suflferal so much 
chagrin at the encUess controvernes which it raised-^^-aad wmt of 
Ins critics went so far as to afflm it was designed to be ^Btrianntal 
to rcvolalionr-thal he burned Itie second part , which was ready for 


8iQ pnoii. Pope was cf)6eryed to writlie wUh anguisfa in lite chair 
QD hearing mentioned the letter of Gibber, with other temporary 
allapks; and it is said of Montesquieu, thathewassomuchaflTected 
bf the criticiioiS) true and fUse, which he daily experienced, thai 
tbey contributed to hasten his death. Ritson's extreme irritability 
closed in lunacy, while ignorant Reyiewers , in the shapes of assas- 
aiiis , were haunting his death-bed. In the prefiice to his ^' Metrical 
Koiunces,'' he says — ^^ bought to an end in ill health and low 
9iril»— certain to be insulted by a base and prostitute gang of lurk- 
iag assassins who stab in the dark , and whose poisoned daggers he 
has already experienced/' Scott, of Amwell, never recovered from 
a ludicrous critidflm , which I discovered had been written by a 
physician who never pretended to poetical taste. 

PiBlisson haa recorded a literary anecdote « which forcibly shows 
Ihadanger of caustic criticism. A young man flrom a remote province 
cane to Paris with a play, which he considered as a masterpiece. 
M. L'Etoito waa more than just in his merciless criticism. He showed 
the yottthftil bard a thousand glaring defBcts in his chef d'couvre. 
The hu^iUed country author fmmt his tragedy, returned home , 
look to his chamber, and died of vexation and grief. Of all unfor- 
tanaie men , one of the unhappiest is a middling author endowed 
with tee livdy a sensibiUiy for criticism. Athensus^ in his tenth 
book, has giten us a livdy portrait of this melancholy being. 
Aaaxandrides appeared one day on horseback in the public assembly 
at Athens, to recite a dithyrambie poem, of which he read a por- 
tiOB. He was a man of fine stature, and wore a purpte robe edged 
with golden fringe. But his complexion was satmnine and inelaiH 
eholy, which was ttie cause ttial he never spared his own writings. 
Whenever he was Tanqi^hed by a rival , he immediately gave his 
campoailions to the druggisis to be cut into pieces to wrap ttieir 
articles in , vrithout ever caring to revise his writings. It is owhig 
to this tiiat be destroyed a number of pleasing compositims ; age 
iuereised his sourness , and every day he became more and more 
teatiifiad at ttie awards of his auditors. . Hence tns ^'Tereus,'' 
teoanse it foiled lo obtain the prize, has not reached us, vi^ch , 
with other of his productions, deserved preservation , Ihoo^ tbey 
had nlised Qm crown awarded by the public. 

Batteax havhig been chosen by the French government for the 
compiktkwi of elementary books for the Military School , is said to 
have MX their unfi^ourable reception so acutely, ttial he became a 
pwy to excessive grief. The lamentaUe death of Dr. Hawkesworth 
was occasioned by a similar chrcumslance. Government had con- 
signed to his care the compUation of the voyages that pass under his 
name : how he succeeded is well known. He felt the public reception 


80 sensibly, that he preferred Che obtivion of death to the Ddortifying 
recollections of life. 

On this interesting subject Fontendle , in his ^^ Eloge on New- 
ton," has made the following obsenration : — '^ Newton was more 
desirous of remaining unknown than of haying the calm of life dis- 
turbed by those literary" storms which genius and science attracl 
about those who rise to eminence." In one of his letters we learn 
that his '^Treatise on Optics" being ready for the press, several 
premature objections which appeared made him abandon its publi- 
cation. ^^ I should reproach myself," he said '^ for my imprudence , 
if I were to lose a thing so real as my ease to run after a shadow/' 
But this shadow he did not miss : it did not cost him the ease he so 
much loved , and it had for him as much reality as ease itself. I 
r^ier to Bayle , in his curious article " Uipponax ," note f. To these 
instances we may add the fate of the Abb^ Cassagne , a man of learn- 
ing, and not destitute of talents. He was intended for one of the 
preachers at court ^ but he had hardly made himself known in the 
pulpit , when he was struck by the lightning of BoUeau'g muse. He 
felt so acutely the caustic verses, that they Tendered him almost 
incapable of literary exertion ,- in the prime of life he became me- 
lancholy, and shortly afterwards died insane. A modem painter, it 
is known, never recovered from the biting ridicule of a popular, 
but malignant wit. Gummyns , a celebrated quaker, confessed he 
died of^n anonymous letter in a public paper, which, said he , 
'^fiistened on my heart, and threw me into this slow fever." Ra- 
cine , who died of his extreme sensibility to a royal rebuke, con- 
fessed t